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The new theme. — Invocation to the Muses. — Dawn 
of Easter on the shore of Purgatory. — The Four 
Stars. — Cato. — The cleansing of Dante's face from 
the stains of Hell I 


Sunrise. — The Poets on the shore. — Coming of a 
boat, guided by an angel, bearing souls to Purga- 
tory. — Their landing. — Casella and his song. — 
Cato hurries the souls to the mountain .... 8 


Ante-Purgatory. — Souls of those who have died in con- 
tumacy of the Church. — Manfred 15 


Ante- Purgatory. — Ascent to a shelf of the mountain. 

— The negligent, who postponed repentance to the 

last hour. — Belacqua 23 


Ante-Purgatory. — Spirits who had delayed repentance, 
and met with death by violence, but died repentant. 

— Jacopo del Cassero. — Buonconte da Montefeltro. 

— Pia de' Tolomei 30 



Ante- Purgatory. — More spirits who had deferred re- 
pentance till they were overtaken by a violent death. 

— Efficacy of prayer. — Sordello. — Apostrophe to 
Italy 38 


Virgil makes himself known to Sordello. — Sordello 
leads the Poets to the Valley of the Princes who 
had been negligent of salvation. — He points them 
out by name 47 


Valley of the Princes. — Two Guardian Angels.- — Nino 
Visconti. — The Serpent. — Corrado Malaspina . 56 


Slumber and Dream of Dante. — The Eagle. — Lucia. 
- — The Gate of Purgatory. — The Angelic Gate- 
keeper. — Seven P's inscribed on Dante's Forehead. 

— Entrance to the First Ledge 64 


Purgatory proper. — First Ledge : the Proud. — Exam- 
ples of Humility sculptured on the rock . . . . j$ 


First Ledge : the Proud. — Prayer. — Omberto Aldo- 
brandeschi. — Oderisi d* Agubbio. — Provenzan Sal- 
vani 80 


First Ledge : the Proud. — Instances of the punish- 


ment of Pride graven on the pavement. — Meeting 
with an Angel who removes one of the P's. — As- 
cent to the Second Ledge 87 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — Examples of Love. — 
The Shades in haircloth, and with sealed eyes. — 
Sapia of Siena 95 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — Guido del Duca. — 
Rinieri de' Calboli. — Instances of the punishment 
of Envy 103 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — An Angel removes the 
second P from Dante's forehead. — Discourse con- 
cerning the Sharing of Good. — Ascent to the Third 
Ledge : the Wrathful. — Vision of Examples of For- 
bearance in 


Third Ledge : the Wrathful . — Marco Lombardo. — 
His discourse on Free Will, and the corruption of 
the World 118 


Third Ledge : the Wrathful. — Issue from the Smoke. 

— Vision of Instances of the punishment of Anger. 

— Ascent to the Fourth Ledge, where Sloth is 
purged. — Second Nightfall in Purgatory. — Virgil 
explains how Love is the root alike of Virtue and of 

Sin 127 



Fourth Ledge : the Slothful. — Discourse of Virgil on 
Love and Free Will. — Throng of Spirits running in 
haste to redeem their Sin. — Examples of Zeal. — 
The Abbot of San Zeno. — Instances of the punish- 
ment of Sloth. — Dante falls asleep 134 


Fourth Ledge. — Dante dreams of the Siren. — The 
Angel of the Pass. — Ascent to the Fifth Ledge : 
the Avaricious. — Pope Adrian V 143 


Fifth Ledge : the Avaricious. — The Spirits celebrate 
examples of Poverty and Bounty. — Hugh Capet. — 
His discourse on his descendants. — Instances of the 
punishment of Avarice. — Trembling of the Moun- 
tain 151 


Fifth Ledge. — The shade of Statius. — Cause of the 
trembling of the Mountain. — Statius does honor to 
Virgil 160 


Ascent to the Sixth Ledge. — Discourse of Statius and 
Virgil. — Entrance to the Ledge : the Gluttonous. ■ — 
The Mystic Tree. — Examples of Temperance . . 167 


Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. — Forese Donati. — 
Nella. — Rebuke of the women of Florence . . .175 



Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. — Forese Donati. — 
Piccarda Donati. — Bonagiunta of Lucca. — Pope 
Martin IV. — Ubaldin dalla Pila. — Bonifazio. — 
Messer Marchese. — Prophecy of Bonagiunta con- 
cerning Gentucca, and of Forese concerning Corso 
de' Donati. — Second Mystic Tree. — Instances of 
the punishment of gluttony. — The Angel of the 
Pass 181 


Ascent to the Seventh Ledge. — Discourse of Statius 
on generation, the infusion of the Soul into the body, 
and the corporeal semblance of Souls after death. — 
The Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — The mode of 
their Purification. — Examples of Chastity . . . 1 90 


Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — Sinners in the fire, 
going in opposite directions. — Instances of the pun- 
ishment of Lust. — Guido Guinicelli. — Arnaut 
Daniel 199 


Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — Passage through the 
Flames. — Stairway in the rock. — Night upon the 
stairs. — Dream of Dante. — Morning. — Ascent to 
the Earthly Paradise. — Last words of Virgil . .206 


The Earthly Paradise. — The Forest. — A Lady gath- 
ering flowers on the bank of a little stream. — Dis- 
course with her concerning the nature of the place . 213 



The Earthly Paradise. — Mystic Procession or Triumph 
of the Church 220 


The Earthly Paradise. — Beatrice appears. — Departure 
of Virgil. — Reproof of Dante by Beatrice . . .229 


The Earthly Paradise. — Reproachful discourse of Bea- 
trice, and confession of Dante. — Passage of Lethe. — 
Appeal of the Virtues to Beatrice. — Her Unveiling 236 


The Earthly Paradise. — Return of the Triumphal pro- 
cession. — The Chariot bound to the Mystic Tree. 
— Sleep of Dante. — His waking to find the Tri- 
umph departed. — Transformation of the Chariot. — 
The Harlot and the Giant 243 


The Earthly Paradise. — Prophecy of Beatrice concern- 
ing one who shall restore the Empire. — Her dis- 
course with Dante. — The river Eunoe. — Dante 
drinks of it, and is fit to ascend to Heaven . . .252 



The new theme. — Invocation of the Muses. — 
Daivn of Easter on the shore of Purgatory. — The 
Four Stars. — Cato. — The cleansing of Dante from 
the stains of Hell. 

To run over better waters the little vessel of 
my genius now hoists her sails, as she leaves be- 
hind her a sea so cruel ; and I will sing of that 
second realm where the human spirit is purified, 
and becomes worthy to ascend to heaven. 

But here let dead poesy rise again, O holy 
Muses, since I am yours, and here let Calliope 
somewhat mount up, accompanying my song 
with that sound of which the wretched Picae felt 
the stroke such that they despaired of pardon. 1 

A sweet color of oriental sapphire, which was 
gathering in the serene aspect of the mid sky, 
pure even to the first circle, 2 renewed delight to 

1 . v. I 2. The nine daughters of Pieros, king of Ema- 
thia, who, contending in song with the Muses, were for their 
presumption changed to magpies. 

2. v. 15. "The first circle " is the horizon, to which 
the clear blue sky extended, its color undimmed by earthly 

2 PURGATORY [vv. 17-33 

my eyes, soon as I issued forth from the dead 
air which had afflicted my eyes and my breast. 
The fair planet which incites to love was making 
all the Orient to smile, veiling the Fishes that 
were in her train. 3 I turned me to the right 
hand, and gave heed to the other pole, and saw 
four stars, never seen save by the first people. 4 
The heavens appeared to rejoice in their flame- 
lets. O widowed northern region, since thou 
art deprived of beholding these ! 5 

When I had withdrawn from regarding them, 
turning me a little to the other pole, 6 there 
whence the Wain had already disappeared, I 
saw close to me an old man alone, in aspect 
worthy of so much reverence that no son owes 
more to his father. 7 He wore his beard long 

3. v. 21. At the spring equinox Venus is in the sign of 
the Pisces, which immediately precedes that of Aries, in which 
is the Sun. The time indicated is therefore an hour or more 
before sunrise on Easter morning, April 10. 

4. v. 24. Purgatory is in the southern hemisphere, and 
" the other " is the South pole. The four stars are the 
symbols of the cardinal virtues, — Prudence, Temperance, 
Fortitude, and Justice, — the virtues of active life, sufficient 
to guide men in the right path, but not to bring them to Par- 
adise. These stars had been visible only in the golden age. 

5. v. 27. Allegorically interpreted, these words signify 
that the virtues of which these stars are the symbols are little 
practised by mankind, whose abode is the northern hemi- 

6. v. 29. The North pole. 

7. v. 33. This old man, as soon appears, is the younger 

vv. 34-41] CANTO I 3 

and mingled with white hair, like his locks, of 
which a double list fell upon his breast. The 
rays of the four holy stars so adorned his face 
with light, that I saw him, as though the sun 
had been in front. 

"Who are ye that, counter to the blind 
stream, have fled from the eternal prison ? " 

Cato, and the office here given to him of warden of the souls 
in the outer region of Purgatory was suggested by the posi- 
tion assigned to him by Virgil in the Aeneid (viii. 670). 

" Secretosque pios, his dan tern jura Catonem." 
'* And far apart the good, and Cato giving them their laws." 

It has been objected to Virgil's thus putting him in Ely- 
sium, that, as a suicide, his place was in the Mourning Fields. 
A similar objection may be made to Dante's separating him 
from the other suicides in the seventh circle of Hell ( Canto 
xiii.). "But," says Conington, "Virgil did not aim at 
perfect consistency. It was enough for him that Cato was 
one who from his character in life might be justly conceived 
of as lawgiver to the dead." So Dante, using Cato as an 
allegoric figure, regards him as one who, before the coming 
of Christ, practised the virtues which are required to liberate 
the soul from sin, and who, as he says in the De Monorchia 
(ii. 5), "that he might kindle the love of liberty in the 
world, showed how precious it was, by preferring death 
with liberty to life without it. ' ' This liberty is the type of 
that spiritual freedom which Dante is seeking, and which, 
being the perfect conformity of the human will to the will of 
God, is the aim and fruition of all redeemed souls. In the 
region of Purgatory outside the gate, the souls have not yet 
attained this freedom ; they are on the way to it, and Cato 
is allegorically fit to warn and spur them on. 

4 PURGATORY [vv. 42-70 

said he, moving those venerable plumes. "Who 
has guided you ? Or who was a lamp to you, 
issuing forth from the deep night which ever 
makes the infernal valley black ? Are the laws 
of the abyss thus broken ? or is a new design 
changed in heaven that, being damned, ye 
come to my rocks ? " 

My Leader then took hold of me, and with 
words, and with hands, and with signs, con- 
trolled to reverence my knees and brow. Then 
he answered him : " Of myself I came not ; a 
Lady descended from Heaven, by reason of 
whose prayers I succored this man with my 
company. But since it is thy will that more of 
our condition be unfolded to thee, how it truly 
is, mine cannot be that this be denied to thee. 
This man has not yet seen his last evening, 
but through his folly was so near thereto that 
there was very little time to turn. Even as I 
have said, I was sent to him to rescue him, and 
there was no other way than this, along which 
I have set myself. I have shown to him all the 
guilty people ; and now I intend to show him 
those spirits that purge themselves under thy 
ward. How I have brought him, it would be 
long to tell thee ; from on high descends power 
which aids me to lead him to see thee and to 
hear thee. Now may it please thee to look 
graciously upon his coming. He goes seeking 

vv. 71-90] CANTO I 5 

liberty, 8 which is so dear, as he knows who for 
it renounces life. This thou knowest ; for death 
for its sake was not bitter to thee in Utica, where 
thou didst leave the vesture which on the great 
day shall be so bright. 9 The eternal edicts are 
not violated by us, for this one is alive, and 
Minos does not bind me ; but I am of the circle 
where are the chaste eyes of thy Marcia, who in 
her look still prays thee, O holy breast, that for 
thine own thou hold her. For her love, then, 
incline thyself to us ; allow us to go on through 
thy seven realms : IO I will report this grace from 
thee to her, if thou deignest to be mentioned 
there below." 

" Marcia so pleased my eyes while I was on 
earth," said he then, " that whatsoever grace she 
wished from me, I did ; now that she dwells 
on the other side of the evil stream," she can 
move me no more, by that law which was made 
when thence I issued forth. 12 But if a Lady of 

8. v. 71. " The glorious liberty of the children of God.' ' 
Romans viii. 21. See the last words of Virgil to Dante, at 
the end of Canto xxvii., especially verse 140. 

9. v. 75. The garment of the body. The words are 
interesting as indicating Dante's conviction that Cato, a 
heathen, is at the Last Judgment to be among the blessed. 

10. v. 82. The seven circles of Purgatory. 

11. v. 88. The Acheron. 

12. v. 90. The law that as one of the redeemed he 
cannot be touched by other than heavenly affections. 

6 PURGATORY [w. 91-117 

Heaven move and direct thee, as thou sayest, 
there is no need of flatteries ; it may well suf- 
fice thee that thou ask me for her sake. Go 
then, and see thou gird this one with a smooth 
rush, and that thou wash his face so that thou 
cleanse it from all stain, for it were not befitting 
to go with eye dimmed by any cloud before the 
first minister that is of those of Paradise. 13 This 
little island, round about at its very base, down 
there yonder where the wave beats it, bears 
rushes upon its soft ooze. No plant of other 
kind, that puts forth leaf or grows hard, can 
there have life, because it yields not to the 
shocks. 14 Thereafter let not your return be this 
way ; the Sun, which now is rising, will show 
you how to take the mountain by easier as- 

On this he disappeared, and I rose up, 
without speaking, and drew me quite close to 
my Leader, and bent my eyes on him. He 
began : " Son, follow my steps ; let us turn 
back, for from here this plain slopes to its 
low bounds." 

The dawn was vanquishing the matin hour, 
which was flying before it, so that from afar I 
discerned the trembling of the sea. We went 

J 3« v « 99* The first of the angels who do service in 

14. v. 105. Of the waves beating on the shore. 

vv. 118-136] CANTO I 7 

along over the solitary plain like a man who 
turns to the road which he has lost, and, till he 
find it, seems to himself to go in vain. When 
we were where the dew contends with the sun, 
and, through being in a place where there is 
shade, is little dispersed, my Master softly 
placed both his hands outspread upon the 
grass ; whereon I, who was aware of his intent, 
stretched toward him my tearful cheeks : then 
he wholly uncovered on me that color which 
hell had concealed. 15 

We came, then, to the desert shore which 
never saw man navigate its waters who after- 
wards had experience of return. Here he girt 
me, even as pleased the other. 16 O marvel ! 
that such as he culled the humble plant, such it 
instantly sprang up again there whence he had 
plucked it. 17 

15. v. 129. Color which Hell had hidden with its 
smoke and foul exhalations. Allegorically, when the soul 
enters upon the way of purification, Reason, with the dew 
of repentance, washes off the stain of sin, and girds the spirit 
with humility. 

16. v. 133. Cato. 

17. v. 136. The goods of the spirit are not diminished 
by appropriation. 


Sunrise. — The Poets on the shore. — Coming of a boat, 
guided by an angel, bearing souls to Purgatory. — Their 
landing. — Casella and his song. — Cato hurries the souls 
to the mountain. 

The sun had now reached the horizon whose 
meridian circle covers Jerusalem with its high- 
est point ; and the night which circles opposite 
to him was issuing forth from the Ganges with 
the Scales which fall from her hand when she ex- 
ceeds ; z so that where I was the white and red 
cheeks of the beautiful Aurora were becoming 
orange through too much age. 

We were still alongside the sea, like folk who 
are thinking of their road, who go in heart and 

i . v. 6. Purgatory and Jerusalem are antipodal, and the 
Ganges or India was arbitrarily assumed to be their common 
horizon, the Western horizon to the one, the Eastern to the 
other. The night is here taken as the point of the Heavens 
opposite the sun, and the sun being in Aries, the night is in 
Libra. When night exceeds, that is, at the autumnal equi- 
nox, when the night becomes longer than the day, the sun 
enters Libra, which may therefore be said to drop from the 
hand of night. 

vv. 13-40] CANTO II 9 

in body linger ; and lo ! as, at approach of the 
morning, Mars glows ruddy through the dense 
vapors, down in the west above the ocean floor, 
such appeared to me, — so may I again behold 
it ! — a light along the sea coming so swiftly 
that no flight equals its motion. From which 
when I had a little withdrawn my eye to ask 
my Leader, again I saw it, brighter become and 
larger. Then on each side of it appeared to 
me a something, I knew not what, white, and 
beneath, little by little, another came forth from 
it. 2 My Master still said not a word, until 
the first white things appeared as wings ; then, 
when he clearly recognized the pilot, he cried 
out : " Mind, mind thou bend thy knees : Lo ! 
the Angel of God : fold thy hands : henceforth 
shalt thou see such officials. See how he scorns 
human instruments, so that he wills not oar, or 
other sail than his own wings, between such 
distant shores. See, how he holds them straight 
toward heaven, stirring the air with his eternal 
feathers, which are not changed like mortal 

Then, as the Bird Divine came more and 
more toward us, the brighter he appeared ; so 
that my eye endured him not near by, but I 
bent it down : and he came on to the shore 

2. v. 24. This other white thing was the boat on which 
stood the glowing angel with his white wings. 

io PURGATORY [vv. 41-48 

with a little vessel, swift and light, so that the 
water swallowed naught of it. At the stern 
stood the Celestial Pilot, such that he seemed 
inscribed among the blest; 3 and more than a 
hundred spirits sat within. " In exitu Israel 
de Egypto " 4 they all were singing together with 
one voice, with whatso of that psalm is after 

3. v. 44. Literally, "blessed by inscription ;' ' possi- 
bly the meaning is, " that blessedness seemed written on his 
countenance.' * 

4. v. 46. In his letter to Can Grande in exposition of 
the plan and method of the Divine Comedy, Dante says that 
his poem has many senses, the first being its literal sense, the 
second its allegorical or mystical sense, under which he in- 
cludes, besides the allegorical proper, the moral and the ana- 
gogical or spiritual sense. And for illustration of the matter, 
he takes the beginning of the psalm here sung by the spirits 
as they approach Purgatory. The psalm is the one hundred 
and thirteenth of the Vulgate, the one hundred and fourteenth 
of the English version. (i When Israel went out of Egypt, 
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah 
was his sanctuary and Israel his dominion." " Now," says 
Dante, "if we regard the letter alone, it signifies the going 
out from Egypt of the children of Israel in the time of Moses ; 
if the allegory, it signifies our redemption by Christ ; if the 
moral meaning, it signifies the conversion of the soul from the 
grief and misery of sin to the state of grace ; if the anagogi- 
cal, it signifies the departure of the holy soul from the servi- 
tude of this corruption to the freedom of eternal glory." § 7. 

This passage not only shows the significance of the psalm 
as sung by the spirits, but also affords light as to the mode in 
which the poem should throughout be read and interpreted. 

vv. 49-72] CANTO II 11 

written. Then he made them the sign of the 
Holy Cross ; whereon they all threw themselves 
upon the strand ; and he went away swift as he 
had come. 

The crowd which remained there seemed 
strange to the place, gazing round about, like 
one who makes essay of new things. The Sun, 
who with his bright arrows had chased the Cap- 
ricorn from mid-heaven, 5 was shooting forth the 
day on every side, when the new people raised 
their brows toward us, saying to us : "If ye 
know, show us the way to go to the mountain." 
And Virgil answered : " Ye perhaps believe 
that we are experienced of this place, but we are 
pilgrims, even as ye are. We came just now, a 
little while before you, by another way, which 
was so rough and difficult that the ascent hence- 
forth will seem play to us." 

The souls, who by my breathing had become 
aware that I was still alive, marvelling, became 
deadly pale. And as to hear news the folk 
press to a messenger who bears an olive branch, 6 
and no one shows himself shy of crowding, so 

5. v. 57. When Aries, in which the sun was rising, 
is on the horizon, Capricorn is at the zenith. 

6. v. 70. It was an old custom, which lasted till the 
sixteenth century, for messengers, bearing news of victory 
or of peace, to carry an olive-branch in their hand as a sign of 
good tidings. 

12 PURGATORY [vv. 73-93 

all of those fortunate souls fastened themselves 
on my countenance, as if forgetting to go to 
make themselves fair. 

I saw one of them drawing forward to em- 
brace me with so great affection, that it moved 
me to do the like. O shades, empty save in 
aspect ! Three times I clasped my hands be- 
hind it, and as often returned with them unto 
my breast. With wonder, I believe, I painted 
me ; whereat the shade smiled and drew back, 
and I, following it, pressed forward. Gently it 
said, that I should pause ; then I knew who it 
was, and I prayed it that it would stay to speak 
with me a little. It replied to me : " Even as 
I loved thee in the mortal body, so loosed from 
it I love thee ; therefore I stay ; but wherefore 
art thou going ? " 

" My Casella, 7 in order to return another 
time to this place where I am, do I make this 
journey," said I, " but from thee how has so 
much time been taken ? " 8 

7. v. 91. The only fact known in regard to Casella, 
beyond what is implied in Dante's affectionate record of their 
meeting, is learned from a record preserved in the Arcbivio 
di Stato at Siena, which runs : "1282, July 13. Fine paid 
by the musician Casella, for having been found wandering at 
night through the city, ,, and, presumably, disturbing its sleepy 
inhabitants with his songs. What a fancy-touching glimpse 
of the past ! See the Giornale Dantesco, i. 3 1 . 

8. v. 93. " How has thy coming hither been delayed 
so long since thy death ? " 

w. 94-112] CANTO II 13 

And he to me : cc No wrong has been done 
me if he who 9 takes both when and whom it 
pleases him has many times denied to me this 
passage ; for of a just will IO his own is made. 
For three months, indeed, he has taken with all 
peace whoso has wished to enter. Wherefore I, 
who had now turned to the seashore where the 
water of Tiber becomes salt, was benignantly 
received by him." To that outlet has he now 
directed his wing, because always those assemble 
there who towards Acheron do not descend." 

And I : " If a new law take not from thee 
memory or practice of the song of love which 
was wont to quiet all my longings, may it please 
thee therewith somewhat to comfort my soul, 
which coming hither with its body is so wearied. ,, 

" Love which in my mind discourses with me" I2 

9. v. 95. The Celestial Pilot. 

10. v. 97. That is, of the Divine Will ; but there is no 
explanation of the motive of the delay. 

11. v. 102. The Tiber is the local symbol of the 
Church of Rome, from whose bosom those who die at peace 
with her pass to Purgatory. The Jubilee, proclaimed by 
Boniface VIII., had begun at Christmas, 1289, so that for 
three months now the Celestial Pilot had received graciously 
all who had taken advantage of it to gain remission of their 

12. v. 1 12. The first verse of a canzone by Dante ; it 
is the second of those upon which he comments in his Con- 

H PURGATORY [vv. 113-133 

he then began so sweetly, that the sweetness still 
within me sounds. 13 My Master, and I, and 
that folk who were with him, appeared so con- 
tent as if naught else could touch the mind of 

We were all fast and attentive to his notes ; 
and lo ! the venerable old man crying : " What 
is this, ye laggard spirits ? What negligence, 
what stay is this ? Run to the mountain to strip 
off the slough which lets not God be manifest to 

As, when picking up grain or tares, the doves 
assembled at their feeding, quiet, without dis- 
play of their wonted pride, if aught appear of 
which they are afraid, suddenly let the food 
alone, because they are assailed by a greater 
care, so I saw that fresh troop leave the song, 
and go towards the hillside, like one that goes, 
but knows not where he may come out : nor 
was our departure less speedy. 

13. v. 1 14. Every English reader recalls Milton's Son- 
net to Mr. Henry Lawes : — 

" Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher 
Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing, 
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory." 


Ante- Purgatory. — Souls of those who have died in 
contumacy of the Church. — Manfred. 

Although the sudden flight had scattered 
them over the plain, turned to the mount 
whereto reason spurs us, I drew up close to my 
trusty companion. And how should I have 
run without him ? Who would have led me 
up over the mountain ? He seemed to me of 
his own self remorseful. O conscience, upright 
and stainless, how bitter a sting to thee is little 
fault ! 

When his feet left the haste which mars the 
dignity of every act, my mind, which at first 
had been restrained, let loose its attention, as 
though eager, and I set my face against the hill 
which rises highest towards heaven from the 
sea. The sun, which behind was flaming 
ruddy, was broken in front of me by the figure 
which the staying of its rays upon me formed. 
When I saw the ground darkened only in front 
of me, 1 I turned me to one side with fear of 

i . v. 2 1 . Dante till now has not observed that the spirits 
cast no shadow. 

16 PURGATORY [v v. 22-41 

having been abandoned : and my Comfort, 
turning wholly round to me, began to say : 
" Why dost thou still distrust ? Dost thou 
not believe me with thee, and that I guide thee ? 
It is already evening there where the body is 
buried within which I cast a shadow ; Naples 
holds it, and from Brundusium it was taken : 
if in front of me there is no shadow now, mar- 
vel not more than at the heavens, of which the 
one obstructs not the other's radiance. 2 The 
Power, which wills not that how it acts be re- 
vealed to us, disposes bodies like this to suffer 
torments both of heat and cold. Mad is he 
who hopes that our reason can traverse the. in- 
finite way which One Substance in Three Per- 
sons holds. Be content, O human race, with 
the quia ; 3 for if ye had been able to see every- 
thing, there had been no need for Mary to bear 
child : and ye have seen desiring fruitlessly men 
such that their desire would have been quieted, 4 

2. v. 30. The nine concentric heavens are transparent, 
so that the radiance from one passes unobstructed through 
the others. 

3. v. 37. Quia is used here, as often in mediaeval Latin, 
for quod. The meaning is, Be content to know that the 
thing is, seek not to know why or bow — propter quid — it 
is as it is. 

4. v. 41. If mere human wisdom sufficed for attaining 
to the knowledge of the things of God, the desires of the 
heathen sages, whom Dante saw in Limbo, would have been 

vv. 42-66] CANTO III 17 

which is given them eternally for a grief. I 
speak of Aristotle and of Plato, and of many 
others." And here he bowed his front, and said 
no more, and remained disturbed. 

We had come, meanwhile, to the foot of the 
mountain ; here we found the cliff so steep, that 
the legs would there be nimble in vain. Between 
Lerici and Turbia 5 the most deserted, the most 
secluded path is a stairway easy and open, com- 
pared with that. " Now who knows on which 
hand the hillside slopes," said my Master, stay- 
ing his step, " so that one who goes without 
wings may ascend ? " 

And while he was holding his face bent down, 
and was questioning his mind about the road, and 
I was looking up round about the rock, a com- 
pany of souls appeared to me on the left hand, 
who were moving their feet towards us, and 
seemed not doing so, so slowly were they com- 
ing. " Lift," said I, " Master, thine eyes ; be- 
hold on this side those who will give us coun- 
sel, if of thyself thou canst not have it." He 
looked at them, and with a relieved air replied : 
" Let us go thither, for they come slowly, and 
do thou confirm thy hope, sweet son." 

5. v. 49. Lerici, on the Gulf of Spezzia, and Turbia, 
just above Monaco, are at the two ends of the Riviera ; be- 
tween them the mountains rise steeply from the shore, along 
which in Dante's time there was no road. 

18 PURGATORY [vv. 67-93 

That people was still as far, — I mean after a 
thousand steps of ours, — as a good thrower 
would cast with his hand, when they all pressed 
up to the hard masses of the high bank, and 
stood still and close, as one who goes in doubt 
stops to look. 6 " O ye who have made good 
ends, O spirits already elect," Virgil began, " by 
that peace which, I believe, is awaited by you all, 
tell us, where the mountain lies so that the going 
up is possible ; for to lose time is most displeas- 
ing to him who knows most." 

As the sheep come forth from the fold by 
ones, and twos, and threes, and the others stand 
timid, holding eye and muzzle to the ground ; 
and what the first does the others also do, hud- 
dling themselves to it if it stop, silly and quiet, 
and wherefore know not ; so I then saw the 
head of that fortunate flock moving to ap- 
proach, modest in countenance and dignified in 

When those in front saw the light broken on 
the ground at my right side, so that the shadow 
was cast by me on the rock, they stopped, and 
drew somewhat back ; and all the rest who were 
coming behind did the like, not knowing why. 

6. v. 72. They stopped, surprised, at seeing Virgil and 
Dante advancing to the left, against the rule in Purgatory, 
where the course is always to the right, symbolizing progress 
in good. In Hell the contrary rule holds. 

vv. 94-113] CANTO III 19 

"Without your asking, I confess to you that 
this is a human body which ye see, whereby the 
light of the sun on the ground is cleft. Mar- 
vel not, but believe that not without power 
which comes from heaven does he seek to sur- 
mount this wall." Thus the Master : and that 
worthy people said : " Turn, proceed before us, 
then ; " with the backs of their hands making 
sign. And one of them began : " Whoever thou 
art, turn thy face as thou thus goest on ; con- 
sider whether in the world thou didst ever see 
me ? " I turned me toward him, and looked at 
him fixedly : blond was he, and beautiful, and 
of gentle aspect, but a blow had divided one of 
his eyebrows. 

When I had humbly disclaimed having ever 
seen him, he said : " Now look ! " and showed 
me a wound high upon his breast. Then he 
said, smiling ; " I am Manfred, 7 grandson of the 
Empress Constance : wherefore I pray thee, 

7. v. 1 1 2. The natural son of the Emperor Frederick 
II. He was born about 1231 ; in 1258 he was crowned 
King of Sicily. The Papacy was hostile to him as it had 
been to his father, and Pope Urban IV. and his successor 
Clement IV. offered the throne of Sicily to Charles of Anjou, 
the brother of St. Louis. In 1265 Charles came with a 
large force to Italy. He was crowned King of Sicily at 
Rome, he then advanced toward Naples, and in February, 
1 26$, routed the forces of Manfred at Benevento. Man- 
fred himself was slain in the battle. 

20 PURGATORY [w. 114-129 

that when thou returnest, thou go to my beau- 
tiful daughter, 8 mother of the honor of Sicily 
and of Aragon, and tell to her the truth 9 if 
aught else be told. After I had my body 
broken by two mortal stabs, I rendered myself, 
weeping, to Him who pardons willingly. My 
sins were horrible, but the Infinite Goodness 
has such wide arms that it takes whatever turns 
to it. If the Pastor of Cosenza, 10 who was set 
on the hunt of me by Clement, had then rightly 
read this page " in God, the bones of my body 
would still be at the head of the bridge near 
Benevento, under the protection of the heavy 

8. v. 115. Constance, the daughter of Manfred, was 
married in 1262 to Peter III. of Aragon. She had three 
sons, Alphonso, James, and Frederick. Alphonso succeeded 
his father in Aragon, and James in Sicily, but after the death 
of Alphonso, in 1 29 1 , James became King of Aragon, and 
Frederick King of Sicily, Dante himself thought ill of James 
and Frederick (see Canto vii., 11 9-1 20) ; and the phrase 
concerning them used by Manfred is to be interpreted as 
referring merely to their regal dignity. 

9. v. 1 17. That, though I died excommunicated, I am 
not among the lost souls. 

10. v. 124. The Archbishop of Cosenza, at command 
of the Pope, Clement IV., took the body of Manfred from 
his grave near Benevento, and threw it unburied, as the corpse 
of one excommunicated, on the bank of the Verde. 

11. v. 1 26. Had he so read the word and the works of 
God which reveal His infinite mercy, as rightly to compre- 
hend them. 

vv. 130-143] CANTO III 21 

cairn. Now the rain bathes them, and the wind 
moves them forth from the kingdom, hard by 
the Verde/ 2 whither he transported them with 
extinguished light. 13 By their malediction I4 one 
is not so lost that the Eternal Love cannot re- 
turn, while hope has speck of green. 15 True 
is it, that whoso dies in contumacy of Holy 
Church, though he repent him at the end, 
heeds must stay outside, 16 upon this bank, 
thirtyfold the whole time that he has been in 
his presumption/ 7 if such decree become not 
shortened through good prayers. See if hereafter 
thou canst make me glad/ 8 revealing to my good 
Constance how thou hast seen me, and also this 

12. v. 131. By the Verde Dante seems to intend the 
river now known as the Garigliano, which, for part of its 
course, formed the boundary of the States of the Church and 
the Kingdom of Naples. 

13. v. 132. Not with candles burning, as in proper 
funeral rites. 

14. v. 133. That is, of Pope or Bishop. 

15. v. 135. While life lasts and man may hope by re- 
pentance, however late, to obtain forgiveness of his sins. 

16. v. 138. Outside the gate of Purgatory. 

17. v. 140. This notion of a period of exclusion from 
Purgatory proper for those who have died in contumacy of 
Holy Church seems to be original with Dante. The power 
of the prayers of the good on earth to shorten the period of 
suffering of the souls in Purgatory is, however, the accepted 
doctrine of the Church. 

18. v. 1 42. By securing for me the prayers of the good. 

22 PURGATORY [w. 144, 145 

prohibition ; 19 for here by means of those on 
earth much may be gained." 2 ° 

19. v. J44. The prohibition of entering within Purga- 
tory proper. 

20. v. 145. In what measure the dead may receive 
assistance from the living is set forth by St. Thomas Aqui- 
nas (S. T. Suppl. lxiii. 2). 


Ante-Purgatory. — Ascent to a shelf of the mountain. 
— The negligent, who postponed repentance to the last 
hour. — Belacqua. 

When by reason of delights, or of pains 
which any capacity of ours may experience, the 
soul is wholly engaged by it, to any other 
faculty it seems no further to give heed : and 
this is counter to the error which believes that 
one soul above another is kindled within us. 1 
And therefore, when a thing is heard or seen 
which may hold the soul intently turned to it, 
the time goes by, and the man perceives it not : 
for one faculty is that which listens, and another 
is that which keeps the soul entire ; the latter is 
as it were bound, and the former is loose. 

i. v. 6. When the soul is wholly engrossed by what 
appeals to one of its powers, it pays no attention to what 
addresses its other faculties ; in other words, when one faculty 
is called into free activity, the other faculties of the soul are, 
as it were, bound in inaction ; but were it true that, as ac- 
cording to the Platonists, there were more than one soul in 
man, he might give attention to two things at once. Dante 
derives his argument from St. Thomas Aquinas (6 1 . Z 7 . i. 
76. 3)- 

24 PURGATORY [vv. 1 3-39 

Of this I had true experience, hearing that 
spirit and wondering : for full fifty degrees had 
the sun ascended, 2 and I was not aware of it, 
when we came where those souls with one 
accord cried out to us : " Here is what you 

The man of the farm, when the grape is grow- 
ing dark, 3 often hedges up a larger opening with 
a forkful of his thorns, than was the passage 
from which my Leader and I behind him as- 
cended alone, when the troop departed from 
us. One goes to Sanleo, and descends to Noli, 
one mounts up Bismantova 4 to its summit, with 
only feet ; but here it behoves that one fly, I 
mean with the swift wings and with the feath- 
ers of great desire, behind that guide who gave 
me hope and made a light for me. We ascended 
through the cleft rock, and on each side the 
wall pressed close on us, and the ground be- 
neath required both feet and hands. 

When we were upon the upper edge of the 
high bank, on the open hillside: "My Master," 
said I, " what way shall we take ? " And he 
to me : " Let no step of thine fall back, always 
win up behind me on the mountain, till some 
sage guide appear for us." 

2. v. 15. It was now about nine o'clock a. m. 

3. v. 21. At the time of vintage. 

4. v. 26. These all are places difficult of access. 

vv. 40-64] CANTO IV 25 

The summit was so high that it surpassed 
the sight ; and the mountain-side far steeper 
than a line from the mid quadrant to the cen- 
tre. 5 I was weary, when I began : " O sweet 
Father, turn and regard how I remain alone if 
thou stay not." " My son," said he, " far as 
here drag thyself on," pointing out to me a 
ledge a little above, which on that side circles 
all the hill. His words so spurred me, that I 
forced myself on, scrambling after him, until the 
belt 6 was beneath my fctt. There we both sat 
down, turning toward the east, whence we had 
ascended, for to look back is wont to encourage 
a man. I first turned my eyes to the low shores, 
then I raised them to the sun, and wondered 
that we were struck by it on the left. The 
Poet well perceived that I was all bewildered 
at the chariot of the light, where it was enter- 
ing 7 between us and Aquilo. Wherefore he 
to me : " If Castor and Pollux were in company 
with that mirror 8 which sheds its light up 
and down, thou wouldst see the Zodiac revolv- 

5. v. 42. A steeper inclination than that of an angle of 
forty-five degrees. 

6. v. 51. The encircling ledge. 

7. v. 60. Dante having his face turned toward the East 
was bewildered at seeing the sun on his left hand. Aquilo, 
the north wind, is put for the North. 

8. v. 62. The brightness of the sun is the reflection of 
the Divine light. 

26 PURGATORY [vv. 65-84 

ing ruddy still closer to the Bears, if it went not 
out of its old road. 9 How this can be, if thou 
wishest to be able to conceive, with collected 
thought imagine Zion and this mountain to stand 
upon the earth so that both have one sole hori- 
zon and different hemispheres ; then thou wilt 
see, if thy intelligence right clearly heed, how 
the road which Phaethon, to his harm, knew 
not how to drive, 10 must needs pass this moun- 
tain on the one side, and that XI on the other." 
" Surely, my Master," said I, " I never saw so 
clearly as I now discern, there where my wit 
seemed deficient, that the midcircle of the su- 
pernal motion, which in a certain art " is called 
Equator, and which always remains between the 
sun and the winter, is distant, for the reason that 
thou tellest, as far from here toward the north, 
as the Hebrews saw it toward the warm region. 

9. v. 66. If the sun were in the sign of the Gemini, — 
Castor and Pollux, — which is nearer the constellations of the 
Bears than Aries, in which the sun now is, it would make 
the Zodiac ruddy still farther to the north. In Purgatory the 
sun being seen from south of the equator is on the left hand, 
while at Jerusalem, its antipodes in the northern hemisphere, 
it is seen on the right. 

10. v. 72. This road is the Ecliptic, the great circle 
of the Heavens round which the sun seems to travel in his 
annual course. 

11. v. 74. Mount Zion. 

12. v. 80. Astronomy. 

w. 85-115] CANTO IV 27 

But, if it please thee, willingly would I know 
how far we have to go, for the hill rises higher 
than my eyes are able." And he to me : " This 
mountain is such, that ever at the beginning 
below it is hard, and the more one goes up, be- 
hold ! the less it troubles him ; therefore when it 
shall seem to thee so pleasant, that the going up 
will be easy to thee as going down the current 
in a vessel, then wilt thou be at the end of this 
path ; there mayst thou expect repose from toil : 
more I answer not, and this I know for true." 

And as he ended his words, a voice near by 
sounded : " Perchance before then thou wilt be 
constrained to sit." At the sound of it each of 
us turned, and we saw at the left a great stone, 
of which neither he nor I had taken note before. 
Thither we drew ; and there were persons who 
were reposing in the shadow behind the rock, 
as one through indolence sets himself to repose. 
And one of them, who seemed to me weary, was 
seated, and was clasping his knees, holding his 
face down low between them. cc O sweet my 
Lord," said I, " look at him, who shows him- 
self more indolent than if sloth were his sister." 
Then that one turned to us and gave heed, 
moving his look only up along his thigh, and 
said : " Now go thou up, for thou art valiant." 
I recognized then who he was, and that effort I3 

13. v. 1 1 5. The effort of climbing up to the ledge. 

28 PURGATORY [vv. 116--134 

which was still quickening my breath a little, 
did not hinder my going to him, and after I 
had reached him, he scarcely raised his head, 
saying : " Hast thou clearly seen how the sun 
drives his chariot over thy left shoulder ? " 

His lazy acts and his short words moved 
my lips a little to a smile ; then I began : " Bel- 
acqua, 14 henceforth I grieve not for thee, 15 but 
tell me why thou art seated here ? dost thou 
await a guide, or has only thy wonted mood 
recaptured thee ? " And he : " Brother, what 
avails the going up ? For the bird of God that 
sits at the gate would not let me go to the tor- 
ments. 16 It behoves that heaven first circle 
around me outside the gate, as long as it did in 
life, because I delayed my good sighs I7 until 
the end ; unless, before then, the prayer assist 
me which rises from a heart that lives in grace : 

14. v. 1 2 3 . Belacqua, according to Benvenuto da Imola, 
was a Florentine, a maker of citherns and other musical in- 
struments ; he carved with great care the necks and heads of 
his citherns, and sometimes he played on them. Dante, 
because of his love of music, had been well acquainted with 

15. v. 1 24. A humorous suggestion that he had feared 
lest Belacqua might be in Hell. 

16. v. 128. The angel who sits as porter at the gate 
of Purgatory would not allow him yet to enter to endure the 
torments by which his sins were to be purged away. 

17. v. 132. Sighs of contrition and repentance. 

w. 135-139] CANTO IV 29 

what avails the other, which is not heard in 
heaven ? " 

And already the Poet was mounting up 
before me, and was saying : " Come on now : 
thou seest that the meridian is touched by the 
sun, and on the shore the night now covers 
Morocco with her foot." l8 

18. v. 139. Morocco is here taken for the western 
verge of our hemisphere, ninety degrees from Jerusalem on 
the one hand, and from Purgatory on the other. At noon 
in Purgatory, it would be nightfall in Morocco. 


Ante-Purgatory. — Spirits who had delayed repent- 
ance, and met with death by violence, but died repentant. 
— Jacopo del Cassero. — Buonconte da Montefeltro. — 
Pia de' Tolomei. 

I had now parted from those shades, and 
was following the footsteps of my Leader, when 
behind me one, pointing his finger, cried out : 
" Look how the ray seems not to shine on the 
left hand of that lower one, and he seems to 
bear himself as if alive." I turned my eyes at 
the sound of these words, and I saw them 
hatching, for marvel, only me, only me, and the 
light which was broken. 

"Why is thy mind so caught," said the 
Master, " that thou slackenest thy going ? 
What matters to thee that which is whispered 
here ? Come on after me, and let the people 
talk. Stand like a firm tower that never wags 
its top for blowing of the winds : for always the 
man in whom thought on thought wells up re- 
moves from himself his mark, because one weak- 
ens the force of the other." r What could I 

I. v. 1 8. Dante has allowed the talk of the spirits con- 

vv. 19-39] CANTO V 31 

answer, save : " I come " ? I said it, overspread 
somewhat with the color, which, at times, makes 
a man worthy of pardon. 

And therewhile, across upon the mountain- 
side, a little in front of us, were coming people, 
singing " Miserere" 2 verse by verse. When 
they observed that I gave no place for passage 
of the rays through my body, they changed 
their song into a long and hoarse Oh ! and two 
of them, in form of messengers, ran to meet us, 
and asked of us : " Make us acquainted with 
your condition/' And my Master: " Ye can go 
back, and report to those who sent you, that the 
body of this one is true flesh. If, as I suppose, 
they stopped because of seeing his shadow, 
enough is answered them : let them do him 
honor and it may profit them." 3 

Never did I see enkindled vapors at early 
night so swiftly cleave the clear sky, or the 
clouds of August at set of sun, 4 that these did 

cerning him so to engage his attention that, forgetting his 
main object, the ascent of the mountain, he has slackened his 
pace, and needs to be recalled to duty. 

2. v. 24. The fiftieth Psalm in the Vulgate, the fifty- 
first in our English version, which begins, " Have mercy 
upon me, O God." 

3. v. 36. Since Dante may secure for them the prayers 
of the good on his return to earth. 

4. v. 39. The shooting stars in a clear sky, or the light- 
ning in the clouds of August. 

32 PURGATORY [v v. 40-68 

not return up in less time ; and, arrived there, 
they with the others wheeled round toward us, 
like a troop that runs without curb. " These 
folk that press to us are many, and they come 
to pray thee," said the Poet ; " yet do thou still 
go on, and in going listen." " O soul," they 
came crying, " that with those limbs with which 
thou wast born art on thy way to be glad, a 
little stay thy step. Look if thou hast ever seen 
any one of us, so that thou mayst carry news 
of him to earth. Pray, why dost thou go on ? 
Pray, why dost thou not stop ? We all of old 
were slain by violence, and sinners up to the last 
hour ; then light from Heaven made us mind- 
ful, so that both penitent and pardoning we 
issued forth from life at peace with God, who 
fills our hearts with the desire of seeing Him." 
And I : cc Although I gaze upon your faces, I 
recognize no one ; but if aught that I can do 
be pleasing to you, spirits well-born, 5 speak ye, 
and I will do it by that peace which makes me, 
following the feet of such a guide, seek it from 
world to world." And one began : cc Each of 
us trusts in thy good service, without thy swear- 
ing it, provided that want of power cut not off 
the will ; wherefore I, who speak alone before 
the others, pray thee, if ever thou see that land 

5. v. 60. Elect from birth to the joys of Paradise, in 
contrast with the ill-born, damned in Hell. 

vv. 69-82] CANTO V 33 

which lies between Romagna and the land of 
Charles, 6 that thou be courteous to me with thy 
prayers in Fano, so that supplication may be 
well made in my behalf, that I may be able to 
purge away my grave offenses. Of that place 
was I ; but the deep wounds, wherefrom issued 
the blood in which I had my seat, 7 were dealt 
me in the bosom of the Antenori, 8 there where 
I thought to be most secure ; he of Este had it 
done, who held me in wrath far beyond what 
justice willed. But if, when I was overtaken at 
Oriaco, I had fled toward La Mira, 9 I should 
still be yonder where men breathe. I ran to 
the marsh, and the reeds and the mire ham- 

6. v. 69. The March of Ancona, between the Ro- 
magna and the kingdom of Naples, then held by Charles II. 
King of Naples and Count of Anjou. It is Jacopo del Cas- 
sero who speaks. He was a noted and valiant member of 
the leading Guelf family in Fano. On his way to take the 
place of Podesta of Milan, in 1298, he was assassinated by 
the minions of Azzo VIII. of Este, whose enmity he had 

7. v. 74. " The life of all flesh is the blood thereof.* ' 
Levit. xvii. 14. Or, according to the Vulgate, " Anima 
enim omnis carnis in sanguine est." 

8. v. 75. That is, in the territory of the Paduans, whose 
city was reputed to have been founded by Antenor. 

9. v. 79. La Mira is a village on the bank of one of 
the canals of the Brenta between Padua and Venice. Why 
flight thither would have been safe is mere matter of conjec- 
ture. Oriaco, another small town, is not far from it. 

34 PURGATORY [w. 83-96 

pered me so that I fell, and there I saw a lake 
made by my veins upon the ground." 

Then said another : " Ah ! so may that de- 
sire be fulfilled which draws thee to the high 
mountain, with good piety do thou help mine. I 
was of Montefeltro, and am Buonconte. 10 Joan, 
or any other, has no care for me, wherefore I go 
among these with downcast front." And I 
to him : " What violence, or what chance caused 
thee to stray so far from Campaldino, 11 that thy 
burial place was never known ? " " Oh ! " re- 
plied he, " at foot of the Casentino " crosses a 
stream, named the Archiano, which rises in the 
Apennine above the Hermitage. 13 Where its 

10. v. 88. Son of Count Guido da Montefeltro, the 
treacherous counselor who had told his story to Dante in 
Hell (Canto xxvii.). Joan was the wife of Buonconte. 

11. v. 92. The battle of Campaldino, in which, if we 
may trust a fragment of a letter ascribed to him in Lionardo 
Brum's Life of him, Dante himself took part, was fought 
on the nth of June, 1289, between the Florentine Guelfs 
and the Ghibellines of Arezzo. Buonconte was the captain 
of the Aretines. Campaldino is a little plain in the upper 
valley of the Arno. 

12. v. 94. The Casentino is a " district in Tuscany 
comprising the upper valley of the Arno, and the slopes of 
the Etruscan Apennines.' ' The little streams from the hills 
of the Casentino were in Master Adam's memory in Hell 
(xx. 65). 

13. v. 96. The monastery of Camaldoli, founded by 
St. Romualdo of Ravenna, in 1 o 1 2, the earliest house of the 

vv. 97-115] CANTO V 35 

name becomes vain I4 I arrived, pierced in the 
throat, flying on foot, and bloodying the plain. 
Here I lost my sight, and I ended my speech 
with the name of Mary, and here I fell, and 
my flesh remained alone. I will tell the truth, 
and do thou repeat it among the living. The 
Angel of God took me, and he of Hell cried 
out, c O thou from Heaven, why dost thou 
rob me ? IS Thou bearest away for thyself the 
eternal part of him for one little tear which 
takes him from me ; but of the rest I will make 
other disposal/ Thou knowest well how in 
the air that moist vapor is collected which 
turns to water soon as it rises where the cold 
condenses it. He 16 joined that evil will, which 
seeks only evil, with intelligence, and moved 
the mist and the wind by the power that his 
nature gave. 17 Then, when the day was spent, 

Order of Reformed Benedictines which derives its name from 
this locality. 

14. v. 97. Being lost at its junction with the Arno. 

15. v. 105. St. Francis and one of the black Cherubim 
had had a similar contention, with an opposite result, as will 
be remembered, over the soul of Buonconte's father {Hell, 
Canto xxvii. 11 2-1 20). 

16. v. 112. The demon from Hell. 

17. v. 114. Material things, according to St. Thomas 
Aquinas, are subject to spiritual things ; hence the angels may 
give local motion to such things as wind and rain (S. T. 
i. 1 10. 3). The demons partake this power by their nature 

36 PURGATORY [w. 116-133 

he covered the valley with cloud, from Prato- 
magno to the great chain/ 8 and made the sky 
above so dense that the pregnant air was turned 
to water. The rain fell, and what of it the 
earth did not endure came to the gullies, and as 
it gathered in great streams it rushed so swiftly 
towards the royal river that nothing held it 
back. The robust Archiano found my frozen 
body near its mouth, and pushed it into the 
Arno, and loosed on my breast the cross which 
I made of myself I9 when the pain overcame me. 
It rolled me along its banks, and along its bot- 
tom, then with its spoil 2 ° it covered and girt 


" Pray, when thou shalt have returned unto 
the world, and rested from the long journey," 
the third spirit followed on the second, " re- 
member me, who am Pia. 21 Siena made me, 

as spiritual beings, unless restrained by the Divine will (Id. 
ii. 1 80. 2). 

18. v. 116. Pratomagno is the mountain ridge which 
forms the western boundary of the Casentino, the upper 
valley of the Arno ; "the great chain" is the main ridge 
of the Apennines on the opposite side. (Toynbee, Dante 

19. v. 127. By folding his arms across his breast. 

20. v. I 29. The spoil of branches, weeds, gravel, and 
whatever the swollen river swept along with its rushing 

21. v. 1 3 3 . This sad Pia is supposed to have belonged 

vv. 134-136] CANTO V 37 

Maremma unmade me ; he knows it, who, be- 
fore wedding, had enringed me with his gem." 

to the Sienese family of the Tolomei, and to have been the 
wife of Nello or Paganello de' Pannocchieschi, who was re- 
ported to have had her put to death in his stronghold of Pie- 
tra in the Tuscan Maremma. Her fate seems the more piti- 
able that she does not pray Dante to seek for her the prayers 
of any living person. Her last words are obscure, and are 
interpreted variously; they may perhaps be intended "to 
accentuate the fact that Pia was lawfully married, after having 
received from her husband the ring of betrothal ' ' (Vernon) . 


Ante-Purgatory, — More spirits who had deferred 
repentance till they were overtaken by a violent death, — 
Efficacy of prayer, — Sordello, — Apostrophe to Italy, 

When the game of hazard " is broken up, 
he who loses remains sorrowful, repeating the 
throws, and, saddened, learns ; with the other 
all the folk go along ; one goes before, and one 
plucks him from behind, and one at his side 
brings himself to mind : he does not stop, and 
listens to one and the other ; the man to whom 
he reaches forth his hand presses on him no 
longer, and thus from the throng he defends 
himself. Such was I in that dense crowd, turn- 
ing my face to them this way and that ; and, 
promising, I loosed myself from it. 

Here was the Aretine, who from the fierce 
arms of Ghin di Tacco had his death ; 2 and the 

i . v. i . A game played with three dice. 

2. v. 14. The Aretine was Messer Benincasa da Late- 
rina, a learned judge, who had condemned to death for their 
crimes two relatives of Ghin di Tacco, the most famous high- 
wayman of the day, whose headquarters were between Siena 
and Rome. Some time after, Messer Benincasa sitting as 

vv. 15-19] CANTO VI 39 

other who was drowned when running in pur- 
suit. 3 Here Federigo Novello 4 was praying 
with hands outstretched, and he of Pisa, who 
made the good Marzucco show himself strong. 5 
I saw Count Orso ; 6 and the soul divided from 

papal auditor in Rome, Ghino entered the city with a band 
of his followers, made his way to the tribunal, slew Benin- 
casa, and escaped unharmed. 

3. v. 15. Another Aretine, of the Tarlati family, con- 
cerning whose death the early commentators are at variance. 
Benvenuto da Imola says that, while pursuing or pursued by 
his enemies, his horse carried him into the Arno, where he 
was drowned. 

4. v. 17. Frederigo, son of the Count Guido Novello, 
of whom nothing is known but that he was slain in 1291, 
near Bibbiena. Benvenuto says, he was juvenis . . mul- 
tum probus, " a very good youth," and therefore Dante men- 
tions him. 

5. v. 18. Of "him of Pisa" different stories are told. 
Benvenuto says, " I have heard from the good Boccaccio, 
whom I trust more than the others, that Marzucco was a 
good man of the city of Pisa, who had become a Franciscan 
friar, whose son was beheaded by order of Count Ugolino, 
the tyrant, who commanded that his body should remain un- 
buried. At a late hour his father humbly approached the 
Count, and like a stranger unconcerned in the matter, and 
without tears or other sign of grief, he said, « Surely, my 
lord, it would be proper and to your honor that that poor 
slain man should be buried, and not left cruelly as food for 
dogs.' Then the Count, recognizing him, said, astonished, 
* Go, for thy patience overcomes my obduracy,' and immedi- 
ately Marzucco went and buried his son." 

6. v. 19. Count Orso, the son of Count Napolcone 

40 PURGATORY [vv. 20-33 

its body by spite and by envy, as it said, and 
not for fault committed, Pierre de la Brosse, 7 I 
mean ; and here let the Lady of Brabant have 
foresight, while she is on earth, so that for this 
she be not of the worse flock. 

When I was free from each and all those 
shades who prayed only that someone else 
should pray, so that their becoming holy may 
be speeded, I began : " It seems to me, O 
Light of mine, that thou deniest expressly, in 
a certain text, that orison can bend decree of 
Heaven, and these folk pray only for this, — 
shall then their hope be vain ? or is thy saying 
not rightly clear to me ? " 8 

degli Alberti, was murdered by his cousin, the son of Count 
Alessandro, who with the Count Napoleone is in the ice of 
Caina. See Hell, Canto xxxii. 55—60. The murder of 
Count Orso by his cousin was doubtless a sequel of the blood 
feud of their fathers. 

7. v. 22. Pierre de la Brosse was chamberlain and con- 
fidant of Philip the Bold of France. He lost the king's 
favor, and being convicted on charges, the nature of which is 
variously reported, he was hanged. It was believed that he 
had incurred the hatred of the Queen, Mary of Brabant, the 
second wife of Philip, and that his death was brought about 
by her. She lived till 1321, so that Dante's warning may 
have reached her ears. 

8. v. 33. Virgil represents Palinurus as begging to be 

allowed to cross the Styx, while his body was still unburied 

and without due funeral rites. To this petition the Sibyl 

answers : 

"Desine fata Deum flecti sperare precando : " 

w. 34-49] CANTO VI 41 

And he to me : " My writing is plain, and 
the hope of these is not fallacious, if it be well 
regarded with sound mind ; for top of judgment 
vails not itself because a fire of love may, in 
one instant, fulfil that which he who is here 
installed must satisfy. And there where I af- 
firmed this proposition, defect was not amended 
by a prayer, because the prayer was disjoined 
from God. 9 However, in regard to matter of 
doubt so deep decide thou not, unless she tell 
it thee, who shall be a light between the truth 
and the understanding. 10 I know not if thou 
understandest ; I speak of Beatrice : ll thou shalt 
see her above, smiling and happy, upon the 
summit of this mountain." 

And I : " My Lord, let us go on with greater 

" Cease to hope that the decrees of the gods can be changed 
by prayer" {Aeneid\ vi. 376). 

9. v. 42. The prayer of Palinurus was not heard be- 
cause it was that of one not in the grace of God ; he was a 
heathen, doomed to Hell. But the prayer of " a heart that 
lives in grace " (Canto iv. 134) fervently interceding for a 
soul in Purgatory may be accepted and secure the remission 
of its penalty. 

10. v. 45. The question, being one that relates to the 
mysteries of the Divine will, cannot be answered with full 
assurance by human reason. 

11. v. 46. This is the first time in which the name of 
Beatrice is spoken, since Virgil's narration to Dante of her 
descent to Limbo, in the second canto of Hell. The men- 
tion of her quickens Dante's ardor to ascend. 

42 PURGATORY [vv. 50-75 

speed, for now I am not weary as a while ago ; 
and see how the hill now casts its shadow." 
"We will go forward with this day," he an- 
swered, " as much farther as is now possible 
for us ; but the fact is otherwise than thou 
supposest. Before thou canst be there-above 
thou wilt see him return, who is now hidden by 
the hill-side so that thou dost not make his rays 
to break. But see there a soul which, stationed 
all alone, is looking toward us ; it will point out 
to us the speediest way." We came to it. O 
Lombard soul, how lofty and disdainful didst 
thou hold thyself; and in the movement of thine 
eyes grave and slow ! It said not anything to 
us, but let us go on, only eyeing us in manner 
of a lion when he is couching. Still Virgil drew 
near to it, praying that it would show to us the 
best ascent ; and it made no answer to his re- 
quest, but of our country and life enquired of 
us. And the sweet Leader began : " Mantua " 
— and the shade, all in itself recluse, rose toward 
him from the place where first it was, saying : 
" O Mantuan, I am Sordello of thy city." " 
And they embraced each other. 

12. v. 74. Of Sordello, who lived in the thirteenth 
century, little is positively known, though many stories are 
told of him, some of them not much to his credit. He left: 
his native land and gave up his native tongue to live and write 
as a troubadour in Provence, but his fame belonged to Italy. 

vv. 76-94] CANTO VI 43 

Ah, servile Italy ! hostel of grief ! ship without 
pilot in great tempest ! not lady of provinces, 
but a brothel ! that noble soul was so ready, 
only at the sweet name of his native town, to 
give glad welcome here unto his fellow-citizen ; 
and now in thee thy living men exist not with- 
out war, and of those whom one wall and one 
moat shut in one gnaws the other. Search, 
wretched one, around its shores, thy seaboard, 
and then look within thy bosom, if any part in 
thee enjoys peace ! What avails it that for thee 
Justinian readjusted thy bridle, 13 if the saddle 
be empty ? I4 Without this, the shame would be 
less. Ah folk, 15 that oughtest to be devout and 
let Caesar sit in the saddle, if thou rightly un- 
derstandest what God notes for thee ! Look 
how fell this wild beast has become, through 

Some of the poems ascribed to him justify by their character 
the esteem in which Dante seems to have held him. In the 
De Vulgar i Eloquio, i. 15, Dante speaks of him as tantus 
eloquentiae vir. 

13. v. 88. By his reform of the laws. 

14. v. 89. What avails it that the law exist if there be 
no Emperor to enforce it. 

15. v. 91. The Church-folk, the clergy, who ought to 
devote themselves to things of the spirit, and to take heed 
that God has said : " Render unto Caesar the things which 
are Caesar's," but who, assuming the rights of civil govern- 
ment which belong to the Emperor, have let Italy fall into 
confusion and misery. 

44 PURGATORY [vv. 95-11 1 

not being corrected by the spurs, since thou 
didst put thy hand upon the rein. O German 
Albert, who abandonest her that has become 
untamed and savage, and oughtest to bestride 
her saddle-bows, may a just judgment from the 
stars fall upon thy blood, and may it be so 
strange and manifest, that thy successor may 
have fear thereat ! l6 For thou and thy father, 
held back up there I7 by greed, have suffered the 
garden of the empire to become desert. Come 
thou to see the Montecchi and Cappelletti, the 
Monaldi and Filippeschi, 18 thou man without 
care, those already wretched, and these in dread. 
Come, cruel one, come, and see the distress of 
thy nobility, and cure their hurts ; and thou 
shalt see Santafiora 19 how safe it is. Come to 

- 16. v. 102. Albert of Hapsburg, son of the Emperor 
Rudolph, was elected King of the Romans in 1298, but, like 
his father, never went to Italy to be crowned. He was mur- 
dered by his nephew, John, called the Parricide, in 1308, 
at Konigsfelden. It is plain that the reference to him was 
written after the just judgment had fallen. The successor of 
Albert was Henry VII. of Luxemburg, who came to Italy 
in 1 3 1 1, was crowned at Rome in 1 3 1 2, and died at Buon- 
convento in 1 3 1 3 . His death ended the hopes of Dante. 

17. v. 104. In your German states. 

18. v. 107. Famous families, the first two — Montagus 
and Capulets — of Verona, the last two of Orvieto, at enmity 
with each other in their respective cities', *ty pes of a common 

19. v. hi. The Counts of Santafiora were once the 

vv. 112-134] CANTO VI 45 

see thy Rome, that weeps, widowed and alone, 
and cries day and night : " My Caesar, where- 
fore dost thou not keep me company ? " Come 
to see how the people love one another ; and, 
if no pity for us move thee, come to be shamed 
for thine own renown ! And if it be lawful for 
me, O Supreme Jove, who wast on earth cruci- 
fied for us, are Thy just eyes turned aside else- 
where? Or is it preparation, which in the 
abyss of Thy counsel Thou art making, for 
some good utterly cut off from our perception ? 
For the cities of Italy are all full of tyrants, 
and every churl that comes playing the partisan 
becomes a Marcellus. 20 

My Florence ! surely thou mayst be content 
with this digression, which does not touch thee, 
thanks to thy people that takes such heed. 21 
Many have justice at heart, but shoot slowly, 
through not coming to the bow without delib- 
eration ; but thy people has it on the edge of its 
lips. Many reject the common burden, but thy 
people eagerly responds without being called, 

most powerful Ghibelline nobles in the Sienese territory. 
Their power had declined, and the district was full of law- 
lessness and misery. 

20. v. 125. That is, a bitter opponent of the Empire, 
as the Consul M. Claudius Marcellus was of Caesar. 

21. v. 129. The bitterness of this irony is justified by 
the record of Florentine history in Dante's time. 

46 PURGATORY [vv. 135-15 1 

and cries, " I load my self." Now make thee 
glad, for thou hast truly wherefore : thou rich, 
thou at peace, thou wise ! If I speak the truth, 
the fact does not hide it. Athens and Lace- 
daemon, that made the ancient laws and were 
so civilized, made in regard to living well but, 
little sign, compared with thee that makest such 
fine-spun provisions, that what thou spinnest in 
October reaches not to mid November. How 
often in the time that thou rememberest hast 
thou changed law, money, office, and custom, 
and renewed thy members ! And if thou mind 
thee well and see the light, thou wilt see thyself 
resembling that sick woman, who cannot find 
repose upon the feathers, but with her tossing 
seeks to ease her pain. 22 

22. v. 151. Literally, " but with giving a turn wards 
off her pain." 


Virgil makes himself known to Sordello. — Sordello 
leads the Poets to the Valley of the Princes who have been 
negligent of salvation. — He points them out by name. 

After the becoming and glad salutations had 
been repeated three and four times, Sordello 
drew back and said : " Who are you ? " " Be- 
fore the souls worthy to ascend to God were 
turned to this mountain, 1 my bones had been 
buried by Octavian ; I am Virgil, and for no 
other sin did I lose heaven, but for not having 
faith : " thus then replied my Leader. 

As is he who suddenly sees a thing before 
him whereat he marvels, and does and does not 
believe, saying : " It is, it is not," — such seemed 
that shade, and then he bent down his brow, 
and humbly returned toward him, and em- 
braced him where the inferior lays hold. 2 

i. v. 4. Virgil died a. d. 19. Before the descent of 
Christ to Hell "human spirits were not saved" (He//, iv. 
63). Even the Saints of the Old Dispensation and the 
virtuous heathen were condemned to Limbo. Since the 
redemption souls foreordained to salvation attain it by ascent 
of the mount of Purgatory. 

2. v. 15. Below the knees ; so Statius stoops to embrace 
the feet of Virgil, Canto xxi. 130. 

48 PURGATORY [vv. 16-39 

" O glory of the Latins," said he, " through 
whom our language showed what it could do, 

eternal honor of the place wherefrom I was, 
what merit or what grace shows thee to me ? If 

1 am worthy to hear thy words, tell me if thou 
comes t from Hell, and from what cloister." 
" Through all the circles of the realm of woe," 
replied he to him, "am I come hither; the 
power of Heaven moved me, and with it I come. 
Not by doing, but by not doing have I lost the 
sight of the high Sun which thou desirest, and 
which by me was known too late. There is 
a place below not sad with torments but with 
darkness only, where the lamentations sound 
not as wailings, but are sighs ; there I abide with 
the little innocents bitten by the teeth of death 

^before they were exempt from human sin ; there 
I abide with those whom the three holy virtues 
did not invest, but who without vice knew the 
others, and followed all of them. 3 But if thou 
knowest and canst, give us some direction 
whereby we may come more speedily to where 
Purgatory has its right beginning." He re- 

3. v. 36. The virtuous heathen did not possess the 
so-called theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity ; 
but they practised the four cardinal virtues of Prudence, 
Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice. Compare with Virgil's 
words the description of limbo in the fourth canto of the 

vv. 40-64] CANTO VII 49 

plied: " A fixed place is not assigned for us; 4 it 
is permitted me to go upward and around ; so 
far as I can go, I join myself to thee as guide. 
But see how already the day declines, and to go 
up by night is not possible ; therefore it is well 
to think of some fair sojourn. There are souls 
yonder to the right, apart ; if thou consentest 
to me I will lead thee to them, and not without 
delight will they be known to thee." " How is 
this ? " was the answer, "would he who might 
wish to ascend by night be prevented by an- 
other, or could he not ascend because he had 
not the power ? " And the good Sordello drew 
his finger on the ground, saying : " See, only 
this line thou couldst not pass after the sun is 
gone ; not, however, that aught else than the 
nocturnal darkness would give hindrance to 
going up ; that hampers the will with impo- 
tence. 5 One might, indeed, in the darkness 
turn downward, and walk the hillside wandering 
around, while the horizon holds the day shut 
up." Thereon my Lord, as if wondering, said : 
" Lead us, then, there where thou sayest one 
may have delight while waiting." 

A short distance had we gone from that 

4. v. 40. Here in the Ante-Purgatory. 

5. v. 57. The allegory is plain : the soul can mount 
the steep of purification only when illuminated by the Sun 
of Divine Grace. 

5 o PURGATORY [w. 65-85 

place, when I perceived that the mountain was 
hollowed out in like fashion as the valleys hol- 
low them here on earth. " Yonder," said that 
shade, " will we go, where the hillside makes a 
lap of itself, and there will we await the new 
day." Now steep, now level, was a winding 
path that led us to a side of the dale, where its 
border more than half dies away. 6 Gold and 
fine silver, and cochineal and pure white, Indian 
wood bright and clear blue, 7 fresh emerald at 
the instant it is split, would each be vanquished 
in color by the herbage and by the flowers set 
within that valley, as by its greater the less is 
vanquished. Nature had not only painted 
there, but of sweetness of a thousand odors 
she made there one unknown and blended fra- 

Here I saw souls 8 who, because of the val- 
ley, were not visible from without, seated upon 
the green and upon the flowers, singing " Salve 
Regina" 9 " Before the now diminished sun 

6. v. 72. As the valley opens out on the mountain-side 
its rocky rim gradually diminishes in height. 

7. v. 74. Indigo. 

8. v. 82. The souls of kings and other rulers who had 
delayed repentance till the hour of death. 

9. v. 82. The beginning of an antiphon recited, during 
certain seasons of the year, at Compline, the last service of the 
day, after sunset. The whole antiphon is as follows, and its 
appropriateness to the condition of these sinners is manifest: — 

vv. 86-95] CANTO VII 51 

sink to his nest," began the Mantuan who had 
turned us thither, cc do not desire that I guide 
you among these. From this bank ye will 
better discern the acts and countenances of each 
and all, than when received among them on the 
level below. He who sits highest and has the 
semblance of having neglected that which he 
should have done, and who moves not his 
mouth to the others' songs, was Rudolph the 
Emperor, 10 who might have healed the wounds 

" Salve, Regina, mater misericordias, vita, dulcedo et spes 
nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus, exules filii Hevae. Ad te 
suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrymarum valle. Eia 
ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos 
converte ; et Jesum benedictum fhictum ventris tui nobis post 
exilium ostende. O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria, 
ora pro nobis, sancta Dei genetrix, ut digni efficiamur pro- 
missionibus Christi.' , " Hail, Queen, mother of mercy! our 
life, our joy, our hope, hail ! To thee we, exiled sons of 
Eve, do cry ; to thee we sigh, groaning and weeping in this 
valley of tears. Come then, our Advocate, turn thy pitying 
eyes upon us, and show to us, after our exile, Jesus, the 
blessed fruit of thy womb. O clement, O pitiful, O sweet 
Virgin Mary! Pray for us, holy Mother of God, that we 
may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.' ' 

10. v. 94. Rudolph of Hapsburg, first Emperor of the 
House of Austria, born in 121 8, crowned Emperor at Aix- 
la-Chapelle in 1273, died in 1 29 1 . His neglect of Italy 
(see the preceding canto, v. 103) was not to be repaired by 
the vain efforts of Henry VII. As Emperor, Rudolph has 
the highest seat, but the neglect of his duty weighs on him 
so heavily that he cannot sing. 

52 PURGATORY [vv. 96-108 

that have slain Italy, so that too late is she 
called back to life by another. The next, who 
to appearance is comforting him, ruled the 
land where the water rises which the Moldau 
bears to the Elbe, and the Elbe to the sea. 
His name was Ottocar, 11 and in his swaddling- 
clothes he was better far than bearded Wen- 
ceslaus, his son, whom luxury and idleness 
feed. 12 And that small-nosed one, 13 who seems 
close in counsel with him who has so benign an 
aspect/ 4 died in flight and disflowering the lily ; 
look there, how he beats his breast : see the 
next one who, sighing, has made with his hand 

11. v. 100. Ottocar, King of Bohemia and Duke of 
Austria, was slain in battle against Rudolph, on the March- 
feld by the Donau, in 1278; "whereby Austria fell to 
Rudolph.* ' See Carlyle's Frederick the Great, book ii. 
ch. 7. The two enemies on earth are friends here. 

12. v. 102. Dante repeats his harsh judgment ofWen- 
ceslaus in the nineteenth canto of Paradise, v. 125. His 
first wife was the daughter of Rudolph of Hapsburg. He died 
in 1305. 

13. v. 103. This is Philip III., the Bold, of France. 
He succeeded his father, Louis IX., St. Louis, in 1270. 
Having invaded Catalonia, in a war with Peter the Third 
of Aragon, he was driven back, and died, on his disastrous 
retreat, at Perpignan, in 1285. 

14. v. 104. Henry of Navarre, the brother of Thi- 
bault, the poet-king (He//, xxii. 52). He died in 1274. 
His daughter Joan married Philip IV., the Fair, "the pest 
of France," the son of Philip the Bold. 

vv. 108-119] CANTO VII 53 

a bed for his cheek. Father and father-in-law 
are they of the Pest of France ; IS they know his 
vicious and foul life, and thence comes the grief 
which so pierces them. He who looks so large- 
limbed/ 6 and who accords in singing with him 
of the masculine nose/ 7 wore girt the cord of 
every worth, and if the youth that is sitting 
behind him l8 had remained after him as king, 
truly the worth had gone from vessel to vessel, 
which cannot be said of the other heirs : James 
and Frederick hold the realms ; I9 the better 

15. v. 109. " Of all the sovereigns mentioned in the 
Divina Commedia, there is none who wrought such evil to 
the Church, or such harm to Italy, as Philippe le Bel, and 
against none does Dante inveigh more often, or in terms of 
severer censure." (Vernon.) See Hell, xix. Sy ; Purgatory, 
xx. 91 ; xxxii. 152; xxxiii. 45; Paradise, xix. 118. 
Philip IV. died in 13 14. 

16. v. 112. Peter III. of Aragon, the husband of Con- 
stance, daughter of Manfred (see Canto iii. 115, 143). 
After the Sicilian Vespers in 1282, when the French were 
driven out of Sicily, Pedro was made king of Sicily. He died 
in 1285. 

17. v. 113. Charles ofAnjou, the famous brother of 
St. Louis, and king, by conquest, of Naples and Sicily. See 
Canto xx. 67-69, for a bitterly ironical reference to Charles. 
He died in January, 1 28*. 

18. v. 116. This youth is Alfonso, son of Peter of 
Aragon, who succeeded his father as king of Aragon, but 
died, twenty years old, in 1291. 

19. v. 119. The kingdoms of Aragon and Sicily; both 

54 PURGATORY [vv. 120-131 

heritage no one possesses. Rarely does human 
goodness rise through the branches, and this 
He wills who gives it, in order that it may be 
claimed from Him. 20 To the large-nosed one 
also my words apply not less than to the other, 
Peter, who is singing with him ; wherefore Apu- 
lia and Provence are now grieving. 21 The plant 
is as inferior to its seed, 22 as, more than Beatrice 
and Margaret, Constance still boasts of her hus- 
band. 23 See the King of the simple life sitting 
there alone, Henry of England; he in his 

James and Frederick, the two surviving sons of Peter of Ara- 
gon, were living when Dante thus wrote of them. (See 
Canto iii. 116). The " better heritage " was the virtue of 
their father. 

20. v. 123. Chaucer translates this sentence of " the 
wyse poete of Florence " in his Wyf of Bathe's Tale, 
vv. 269-74 : 

" Ful selde up ryseth by his branches smale 
Prowesse of man ; for god, of his goodnesse, 
Wol that of him we clayme our gentilesse." 

21. v. 126. Apulia and Provence were grieving under 
the rule of Charles II., the degenerate son of Charles of 
Anjou ; he died in 1 309. 

22. v. 127. That is, the son is as inferior to his father. 

23. v. 129. These words are obscure; perhaps their 
meaning is, that the children of Charles of Anjou and of 
Peter of Aragon are as inferior to their fathers, as Charles 
himself, the husband first of Beatrice of Provence and then 
of Margaret of Nevers, was inferior to Peter, the husband of 

vv. 132-136] CANTO VII 55 

branches has a better issue. 24 That one who 
lowest among them is seated on the ground, 
looking upward, is William the marquis, 25 for 
whom Alessandria and her war make Montfer- 
rat and Canavese mourn." 

24. v. 132. Henry III. (died 1272), father of Ed- 
ward I. He sits alone because, perhaps, of the remoteness 
of England, and the slight connection of the king with the 
other princes. 

25. v. 134. Guglielmo Spadalunga, William Long- 
sword, was Marquis of Montferrat and Canavese, the Pied- 
montese highlands and plain north of the Po. He was 
Imperial vicar, and the head of the Ghibellines in this region. 
In a war with the Guelfs, who had risen in revolt in 1 290, 
he was taken captive at Alessandria, and for two years, till 
his death, was kept in an iron cage. Dante refers to him 
in the Convito, iv. 1 1 . 1 27, as *< the good marquis of Mont- 


Valley of the Princes. — Two Guardian Angels. — 
Nino Visconti. — The Serpent. — Corrado Malaspina. 

It was now the hour that turns back desire 
in those that sail the sea, and softens their 
hearts, the day when they have said to their 
sweet friends farewell, and which pierces the 
new pilgrim with love, if he hear from afar a 
bell that seems to deplore the dying day, — 
when I began to render hearing vain, 1 and to 
look at one of the souls who, uprisen, besought 
attention with its hand. It joined and raised 
both its palms, fixing its eyes toward the east, 
as if it said to God, " For aught else I care 
not." " Te lucis ante " 2 so devoutly issued 
i. v. 8. . When I began no longer to pay attention to 
the words of Sordello. 

2. v. 13. The opening words of a hymn sung at Com- 
pline, the last service of the day : — 

"Te lucis ante terminum, 

Rerum Creator poscimus, 

Ut tua pro dementia 

Sis presul et custodia : " — 

" Before the close of light, we pray thee, O Creator, that 
through thy clemency, thou be our watch and guard. " 

vv. 14-30] CANTO VIII 57 

from his mouth and with such sweet notes that 
it made me issue forth from my own mind. 3 
And then the others sweetly and devoutly 
accompanied it through all the hymn to the 
end, having their eyes on the supernal wheels. 
Here, reader, sharpen well thine eyes to the 
truth, for surely the veil is now indeed so thin 
that passing through within is easy. 4 

I saw that army of the gentle-born silently 
thereafter gazing upward, as if in expectation, 
pallid and humble ; and I saw two angels, issu- 
ing from on high and descending, with two 
flaming swords truncated and deprived of their 
points. Green as leaflets just now born was 
their raiment, which, beaten and blown by their 
green pinions, they trailed behind. 5 One came 

3. v. 15. That I lost myself in listening. 

4. v. 21. The allegory seems to be, that the soul which 
has entered upon the way of repentance and purification, but 
which is not yet securely advanced therein, is still exposed to 
temptation. But if the soul have steadfast purpose to resist 
temptation, and seek aid from God, that aid will not be want- 
ing. The prayer of the Church which is recited after the 
hymn just cited has these words : " Visit, we pray thee, O 
Lord, this abode, and drive far from it the snares of the 
enemy. Let thy holy Angels abide in it, and guard us in 
peace." Pallid with self-distrust, humble with the sense of 
need, the soul awaits the fulfilment of its prayer. 

5. v. 30. The guardian angels are clad in green, the 
symbolic color of hope. Their swords arc truncated, because 
needed only for defence. 

58 PURGATORY [vv. 31-53 

to his station a little above us, and the other 
descended on the opposite bank, so that the 
people were contained between them. I clearly- 
discerned in them their blond heads, but on 
their faces the eye was dazzled, as a faculty 
which is confounded by excess. " Both come 
from the bosom of Mary," said Sordello, " for 
guard of the valley, because of the serpent 
which will straightway come." Whereat I, who 
knew not by what path, turned me round, 
and, all chilled, drew close to the trusty shoul- 

And Sordello again : " Now let us go down 
among the great shades, and we will speak to 
them ; well-pleasing will it be to them to see 
you." Only three steps I think that I de- 
scended and I was below ; and I saw one who 
was gazing only at me as if he wished to recog- 
nize me. It was already the time when the air 
was darkening, but not so that between his 
eyes and mine it did not reveal that which it 
locked up before. 6 Towards me he made, and 
I made towards him. Noble Judge Nino, 7 how 

6. v. 51. It was not yet so dark that recognition of one 
near at hand was difficult, though at a distance it had been 

7. v. 53. Nino (Ugolino) de' Visconti of Pisa was the 
grandson of Count Ugolino (see Hell, xxxiii., note on v. 
14). Sardinia was under the dominion of Pisa, and was 

vv. 54-69] CANTO VIII 59 

much it pleased me when I saw that thou wast 
not among the damned ! No fair salutation 
was silent between us ; then he asked : " How 
long is it since thou earnest to the foot of the 
mountain across the far waters ? " 

" Oh," said I to him, " from within the dis- 
mal places I came this morning, and I am in 
the first life, although in going thus I may gain 
the other." And when my answer was heard, 
Sordello and he drew themselves back, like folk 
suddenly bewildered. 8 The one turned to Vir- 
gil, and the other to one who was seated there, 
crying : " Up, Corrado, 9 come to see what God 
through grace has willed." Then, turning to 
me : " By that singular gratitude thou owest 
unto Him who so hides His own first where- 
fore IO that there is no ford to it, when thou 

divided into four districts, each of which was governed by- 
one of the Pisan nobles, under the title of Judge. Nino had 
held the judicature of Gallura, where Frate Gomita (see 
Hell, xxii. 81) had been his vicar. Nino died in 1296. 

8. v. 63. The sun was already hidden behind the 
mountain when Virgil and Dante came upon Sordello. Sor- 
dello had not therefore seen that Dante cast a shadow, and, 
being absorbed in discourse with Virgil, had not observed 
that Dante breathed as a living man. 

9. v. 65. Corrado, of the great Guelf family of the 
Malaspina, lords of the Lunigiana, a wide district between 
Genoa and Pisa. 

10. v. 69. The reason of that which He wills. 

60 PURGATORY [w. 70-89 

shalt be beyond the wide waves, say to my 
Joan, that she cry for me there where answer is 
made to the innocent. I do not think her 
mother 11 loves me longer, since she changed 
her white wimples, 12 which she, wretched, needs 
must even now long for. Through her one 
may understand easily enough how long in 
woman the fire of love endures, if the eye or the 
touch does not often rekindle it. The viper I3 
which leads afield the Milanese will not make 
for her so fair a sepulture as the cock of Gal- 
lura would have done." Thus he said, marked 
in his aspect with the stamp of that righteous 
zeal which glows with due measure in the heart. 
My greedy eyes were going only to the sky, 
only there where the stars are slowest, even as 
a wheel nearest the axle. And my Leader : 
" Son, at what art thou gazing up there ? " And 
I to him : "At those three torches with which 

11. v. 7 3 . Her mother was Beatrice d' Este, who, in 
1300, married in second nuptials Galeazzo de* Visconti of 

12. v. 74. The white veil or wimple and black gar- 
ments were worn by widows. Nothing is known of the out- 
come of Beatrice d' Este's second marriage to account for the 
declaration that she must needs wish for her " widow-like sad 
wimples thrown away." 

13. v. 80. The viper was the cognizance of the Vis- 
conti, the lords of Milan ; the cock that of the Judicature of 

vv. 90-113] CANTO VIII 61 

the pole on this side is all aflame." I4 And he 
to me : " The four bright stars which thou 
sawest this morning 15 are low on the other side, 
and these are risen where those were." 

As he was speaking, lo ! Sordello drew him 
to himself, saying : " See there our adversary ! " 
and pointed his finger that he should look 
thither. At that part where the little valley has 
no barrier was a snake, perhaps such as gave to 
Eve the bitter food. Through the grass and 
the flowers came the evil streak, turning now 
and again its head to its back, licking like a 
beast that sleeks itself. I did not see, and 
therefore cannot tell, how the celestial falcons 
moved, but I saw well both one and the other 
in motion. Hearing the air cleft by their green 
wings the serpent fled, and the angels wheeled 
upward to their posts with equal flight. 

The shade which had drawn close to the 
Judge when he exclaimed, through all that 
assault had not for a moment loosed its gaze 
from me. " So may the lantern which is leading 
thee on high find in thine own free-will so much 
wax as is needed as far as to the enamelled sum- 

14. v. 90. These three stars are supposed to symbolize 
the theological virtues, — faith, hope, and charity, whose 
light shines in the contemplative hours of night, when the four 
virtues of active life are dim. 

15. v. 92. See Canto i. v. 23. 

62 PURGATORY [vv. 1 14-13 1 

mit," l6 it began, " if thou knowest true news 
of Valdimacra I? or of the neighboring region, 
tell it to me, for there I once was great. I was 
called Corrado Malaspina ; I am not the elder, 18 
but from him I am descended ; to mine own I 
bore the love which is here refined." I9 " Oh," 
said I to him, " through your lands I have 
never been, but where does man dwell in all 
Europe that they are not renowned ? The fame 
that honors your house proclaims its lords, pro- 
claims its district, so that he knows of them 
who never yet was there. And I swear to you, 
so may I go on high, that your honored race 
does not despoil itself of the praise of the purse 
and of the sword. Custom and nature so privi- 
lege it that though the guilty head 20 turn the 

16. v. 114. So may illuminating grace find the dispo- 
sition in thee requisite for the support of its light, until thou 
shalt arrive at the summit of the Mountain, the earthly Para- 
dise, enamelled with perpetual flowers. 

17. v. 116. A part of the district of Lunigiana, the 
valley of the Magra, which enters the sea near the Gulf of 

18. v. 1 19. The elder Corrado Malaspina was the hus- 
band of Constance, the sister of King Manfred. He died 
about the middle of the thirteenth century. The second 
Corrado was his grandson. 

19. v. 120. The earthly affections are purified here, 
freed from material dross. 

20. v. 131. Dante probably means the Pope, Boniface 

vv. 132-139] CANTO VIII 63 

world awry, alone it goes straight and scorns 
the evil way." 2I And he : " Now go, for the 
sun shall not return to rest seven times in the 
bed which the Ram covers and bestrides with 
all four feet, 22 before this courteous opinion will 
be nailed in the middle of thy head with greater 
nails than the speech of another, if course of 
judgment be not arrested." 

21. v. 132. This magnificent eulogy of the land and 
the family of Malaspina is Dante's return for the hospitality 
which, during his exile, in 1 306, he received from the Mar- 
quis Moroello and other members of the house. 

2 3« v * I 3 5* Seven years shall not pass, the sun being 
at this time of Dante's journey in the sign of the Ram. 


Slumber and Dream of Dante. — The Eagle, — 
Lucia. — The Gate of Purgatory. — The Angelic Gate- 
keeper. — Seven P's inscribed on Dante's Forehead.- — 
Entrance to the First Ledge. 

The concubine of old Tithonus was now 
gleaming white on the balcony of the east, forth 
from the arms of her sweet friend ; her forehead 
was bright with gems set in the shape of the cold 
animal that strikes people with its tail. 1 And 
in the place where we were the night had taken 
two of the steps with which she ascends, and 
the third was already bending its wings down- 
ward, when I, who had somewhat of Adam 2 

i. v. 6. By "the concubine of old Tithonus," Dante 
seems to intend the lunar Aurora, in distinction from the 
proper wife of Tithonus, Aurora, who precedes the rising 
Sun, and the meaning of these verses is that " the Aurora 
before moonrise was lighting up the eastern sky, the brilliant 
stars of the sign Scorpio were on the horizon, and, finally, 
it was shortly after 8.30 p. m." (Moore.) " The steps 
with which the night ascends ' ' are the six hours of the first 
half of the night, from 6 p. m. to midnight. 

2. v. 10. His human body, requiring repose. 

vv. 11-29] CANTO IX 65 

with me, overcome by sleep, reclined upon the 
grass, there where all five of us 3 were already 

At the hour near the morning when the little 
swallow begins her sad lays, 4 perhaps in mem- 
ory of her former woes, and when our mind, 
more a wanderer from the flesh and less captive 
to the thought, is in its visions almost divine, 5 
in dream I seemed to see an eagle with feathers 
of gold poised in the sky, with wings spread, 
and intent to stoop. And I seemed to be there 6 
where his own people were abandoned by Gany- 
mede, when he was rapt to the supreme consis- 
tory. In myself I thought, perhaps this bird 
strikes only here through wont, and perhaps 
from other place disdains to carry anyone up- 
ward in its feet. Then it seemed to me that, 
having wheeled a little, it descended terrible as 
a thunderbolt, and snatched me upwards far as 

3. v. 12. Dante, Virgil, Sordello, Nino, and Corrado. 

4. v. 13. The allusion is to the tragic story of Progne 
and Philomela, transformed the one into a swallow, the other 
into a nightingale. Dante found the tale in Ovid's Meta- 
morphoses, Book vi. 

5. v. 18. Dante passes three nights in Purgatory, and 
each night his sleep is terminated by a dream towards the 
hour of dawn, the time when, according to the belief of 
classical antiquity, the visions of dreams are symbolic and 
prophetic. (Moore.) Cf. He//, xxvi. 7. 

6. v. 22. On Mount Ida. 

66 PURGATORY [vv. 30-50 

the fire. 7 There it seemed that it and I burned, 
and the imagined fire so scorched that of neces- 
sity my sleep was broken. 

Not otherwise Achilles shook himself, — 
turning around his awakened eyes, and not 
knowing where he was, when his mother stole 
him away, sleeping in her arms, from Chiron to 
Scyros, thither whence afterwards the Greeks 
withdrew him, 8 — than I started, as from my face 
sleep fled away ; and I became pale, as does a 
man who, frightened, turns to ice. At my side 
was my Comforter alone, and the sun was now 
more than two hours high, 9 and my face was 
turned toward the sea. " Have no fear," said 
my Lord ; " be reassured, for we are at a good 
point ; restrain not, but put forth all thy 
strength. Thou art now arrived at Purgatory ; 
see there the cliff that closes it round ; see the 

7. v. 30. The sphere of fire by which, according to 
the mediaeval cosmography, the sphere of the air was sur- 

8. v. 39. Statius, in the first book of the Achilleid, 
tells how Thetis, to prevent Achilles from going to the siege 
of Troy, bore him, sleeping, away from his instructor, the 
centaur Chiron, and carried him to the court of King Lyco- 
medes, on the Island of Scyros, where, though concealed in 
women's garments, Ulysses and Diomed discovered him. 
Statius relates how wonderstruck Achilles was when, on 
awaking, he found himself at Scyros. 

9. v. 44. It is the morning of Easter Monday. 

vv. 51-72] CANTO IX 67 

entrance there where it appears divided. Short 
while ago, in the dawn that precedes the day, 
when thy soul was sleeping within thee upon 
the flowers wherewith the place down yonder is 
adorned, came a lady, and said : c I am Lucia ; IO 
let me take this one who is sleeping ; thus will 
I assist him along his way.' Sordello remained, 
and the other noble forms : she took thee up, 
and as the day grew bright, she came upward, 
and I along her footprints. Here she laid thee 
down : and first her beautiful eyes showed me 
that open entrance ; then she and slumber went 
away together." Like a man who in perplexity 
is reassured, and who changes his fear into con- 
fidence after the truth is disclosed to him, so did 
I change ; and when my Leader saw me free 
from disquiet, up along the cliff he moved on, 
and I behind, toward the height. 

Reader, thou seest well how I exalt my 
theme, and therefore marvel not if I support it 
with more art. 11 

10. v. 55. Lucia seems to be here, as in the second 
canto of He//, the symbol of assisting grace, the gratia ope- 
rans of the schoolmen. 

11. v. 72. These words may be intended to call atten- 
tion to the doctrine which underlies the imagery of the verse. 

The entrance within the gate of Purgatory is the assurance 
of justification, which is the change of the soul from a state 
of sin to a state of justice or righteousness. Justification itself 
consists, according to St. Thomas Aquinas (S. T. ii. 1 1 12. 

68 PURGATORY [vv. 73-82 

We drew near to it, and reached a place such 
that there, where at first there seemed to me to 
be a rift, like a cleft which divides a wall, I saw 
a gate, and three steps beneath for going to it, 
of divers colors, and a gatekeeper who as yet 
said not a word. And as I opened my eye upon 
him more and more, I saw him sitting on the 
upper step, such in his face that I endured it 
not. 12 And he had in his hand a naked sword, 

6 and 8), of four parts : first, the infusion of grace ; second, 
the turning of the free will to God through faith ; third, the 
turning of the free will against sin ; fourth, the remission of 
sin. It must be accompanied by the sacrament of penance, 
which consists of contrition, confession, and satisfaction by 
works of righteousness ; contrition is of the heart, confession 
of the mouth, and satisfaction of the deed. 

Outside the gate of Purgatory justification cannot be com- 
plete. The souls in the Ante-Purgatory typify those who 
have entered on the way towards justification, but have not 
yet attained it. " Contingit autem quandoque quod praece- 
dit aliqua deliberatio quae non est de substantia justificationis 
sed via in justificationem. ,, S. T. I. c. 7. 

12. v. 81. The Earthly Paradise forms the summit of 
the Mountain of Purgatory, and the Angel at the gate of 
Purgatory corresponds to the Cherubim with the flaming 
sword which turned every way, whom the Lord God placed 
at the east of the garden of Eden, to keep the way of the tree 
of life. Genesis, iii. 24. That way was by Christ opened 
to redeemed souls, and the Angel is the type of the priest to 
whom the keys of the Church are committed, and to whom 
alone confession is to be made, and to whom it pertains to 
administer absolution. S. T. Suppl. viii. 1. 

vv. 83-104] CANTO IX 69 

which so reflected the rays toward us that I often 
raised my sight in vain. " Tell it from there, 
what would ye ? " he began to say : " Where 
is the guide ? Beware lest the coming up be 
harmful to you." I3 " A lady from Heaven 
versed in these things," replied my Master to 
him, " only just now said to us : c Go thither, 
here is the gate/ " " And may she speed your 
steps in good," began again the courteous gate- 
keeper, " come forward then unto our stairs." 

Thither we came to the first great stair ; it 
was of white marble so polished and smooth 
that I mirrored myself in it as I appear. The 
second, of deeper hue than perse, 14 was of a 
rough and scorched stone, cracked lengthwise 
and athwart. The third, which uppermost lies 
massy, seemed to me of porphyry as flaming red 
as blood that spirts forth from a vein. Upon 
this the Angel of God held both his feet, sit- 
ting upon the threshold, which seemed to me 

13. v. 87. The angel recognizes that Dante and Virgil 
are not souls coming to undergo the penalties of Purgatory. 
His question corresponds with Cato's, " Who has guided 
you ?" (i. 43). The inner meaning of his warning may 
be, that the teaching of the reason is not sufficient so to con- 
vince man of his sin as to make him fit for justification ; co- 
operating grace must be added ; and unless the penitence be 
proportioned to the sin the penitent may lose rather than gain 
in grace. S. T. iii. 89. 2. 

14. v. 97. Dark purple, inclining to black. 

70 PURGATORY [w. 105-119 

stone of adamant. 15 Up over the three steps 
my Leader drew me with good will, saying: 
" Beg humbly that he undo the lock." De- 
voutly I threw myself at the holy feet ; I be- 
sought for mercy's sake that he would open for 
me ; but first upon my breast I struck three 
times. 16 Seven P's he inscribed upon my fore- 
head with the point of his sword, 17 and : " See 
that thou wash these wounds when thou art 
within," he said. 

Ashes or earth dug out dry would be of one 
color with his vestment, and from beneath that 
he drew two keys. One was of gold and the 
other was of silver : first with the white and 
then with the yellow he so did to the gate, that 

15. v. 105. The first stair is the symbol of contrition, 
that compunction and humility of spirit in which man sees 
himself as he actually is ; the second is the symbol of con- 
fession, in which he manifests the condition of his soul ; the 
third is the symbol of the satisfaction rendered by deeds 
of love, the works of penitence ; the threshold of adamant 
may signify the rock on which rests the authority of the 

16. v. in. Three times, in penitence for sins in 
thought, in word, and in deed. 

17. v. 1 1 3. The seven P's stand for the seven so-called 
mortal sins, — Peccati, — not specific acts, but the evil dis- 
positions of the soul from which all evil deeds spring, —r- 
pride, envy, anger, sloth (accidia), avarice, gluttony, and 
lust. After justification these dispositions, which already have 
been overcome, must be utterly removed from the soul. 

vv. 120-136] CANTO IX 71 

I was content. 18 " Whenever one of these keys 
fails, so that it turns not rightly in the lock," 
said he to us, " this narrow entrance does not 
open. The one is more precious ; IO but the 
other requires exceeding much of art and wit 
before it unlocks, because it is that which dis- 
entangles the knot. 20 From Peter I hold 
them ; and he told me to err rather in open- 
ing than in keeping shut, if but the people 
prostrate themselves at my feet." Then he 
pushed the valve of the sacred gate, saying : 
" Enter, but I give you warning that whoso 
looks backward returns outside." 2I And when 
the pivots of that sacred portal, which are of 
metal, sonorous and strong, were turned within 
their hinges, Tarpeia roared not so loud nor 

18. v. 120. The golden key is typical of the power to 
open, and the silver of the judgment to whom to open ; the 
first is called potestas judicandi, the second scientia discernendi. 
S. T. SuppL xvii. 3. 

19. v. 1 24. The gold, more precious because the power 
of absolution was purchased by the death of the Saviour. 

20. v. 1 26. The knot is the question as to the fitness 
of the suppliant to enter ; to be determined by the priest on 
the confession of the sinner. 

21. v. 132. For he who returns to his sins loses the 
benefit of his former penitence, though he may, through the 
infinite mercy of God, again repent, and again enter on the 
way of salvation. S. T. iii. 84. 10. " No man, having 
put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the 
kingdom of God." Luke, ix. 62. 

72 PURGATORY [vv. 137-145 

showed herself so harsh, when the good Metel- 
lus was taken from her, whereby she afterwards 
remained lean. 22 

I turned away attentive to the first tone, 23 and 
it seemed to me I heard " Te Deum laudamus" 2A 
in a voice mingled with the sweet sound. That 
which I heard gave me just such an impression 
as we are wont to receive when people stand 
singing with an organ, and the words now are, 
now are not heard. 

22. v. 138. I know of no satisfactory explanation of 
the significance of this roaring of the gates. When Csesar 
forced the doors of the temple of Saturn on the Tarpeian 
rock, in order to lay hands on the sacred treasure of Rome, 
he was unsuccessfully resisted by the tribune Metellus. 
Lucan (P bars alia, iii. 153-155) tells of the clamor of the 
rock when Marcellus was dragged away, and (Id. 167, 168) 
of the impoverishment of the treasury. 

2 3' v * I 39* The first sound within Purgatory. 

24. v. 140. " We praise thee, O God," words appro- 
priate to the entrance of a repentant and justified sinner. 


Purgatory proper. — First Ledge : the Proud. — Ex- 
amples of Humility sculptured on the rock. 

When we were within the threshold of the 
gate, which the evil love ■ of souls disuses, be- 
cause it makes the crooked way seem straight, 
I heard by its resounding that it was closed 
again. And, if I had turned my eyes to it, 
what excuse would have been befitting for the 
fault ? 

We were ascending through a cloven rock, 
which was moving to one side and to the other, 
even as the wave which retreats and approaches. 
" Here must be used a little art," began my 
Leader, " in keeping close, now on this hand, 
now on that, to the side which recedes." 2 And 
this made our steps so scant that the waning 
disk of the moon had regained its bed to go to 

i. v. 2. It is Dante's doctrine that love is the motive 
of every act ; rightly directed, of good deeds ; perverted, of 
evil. See Canto xvii. 91-105. 

2. v. 12. The path between walls of rock was a nar- 
row, steep zigzag, which, as it receded on one side and the 
other, afforded the better foothold. 

74 PURGATORY [w. 16-43 

rest, before we were out from that needle's eye. 3 
But when we were free and open above, where 
the mountain gathers itself back, 4 I weary, and 
both uncertain of our way, we stopped upon a 
level more solitary than roads through deserts. 
From its edge, where it borders the void, to 
the foot of the high bank which ever rises, a 
human body three times told would measure ; 
and as far as my eye could stretch its wings, 
now on the left and now on the right side, 
such did this cornice seem to me. Our feet 
had not yet moved upon it, when I perceived 
the circling bank, which, being perpendicular, 
allowed no ascent, to be of white marble and 
adorned with such carvings, that not only Poly- 
cletus, but Nature herself would have been 
shamed there. 

The Angel who came to earth with the an- 
nouncement of the peace, many years wept for, 
which opened Heaven from its long interdict, 
appeared before us, carved here so truly in a 
sweet attitude, that he did not seem an image 
that is silent. One would have sworn that he was 
saying " Ave ; " for she was imaged there who 
turned the key to open the exalted love. And 
on her action she had these words impressed, 

3. v. 16. The time is between 8 and 9 a. m. 

4. v. 1 8. Leaving an open space, the first ledge of Pur- 

vv. 44-60] CANTO X 75 

" Ecce ancilla Dei! " s as exactly as a shape is 
sealed in wax. 

" Keep not thy mind only on one place," said 
the sweet Master, who had me on that side 
where people have their heart. Whereupon I 
moved my eyes and saw, beyond Mary, upon 
that side where he was who was moving me, 
another story imposed upon the rock ; where- 
fore I passed Virgil, and drew near so that it 
might be set before my eyes. There in the 
very marble were carved the cart and the oxen 
drawing the holy ark, by reason of which men 
fear an office not given in charge. 6 In front ap- 
peared people ; and all of them, divided in seven 
choirs, of two of my senses made the one say : 
" No" the other: " Tes, they are singing" 7 In 

5. v. 44. " Behold the handmaid of the Lord ! " 
Luke i. 38. 

6. v. 57. " And they set the ark of God upon a new 
cart, and brought it out of the house . . . and Uzzah and 
Ahio . . . drave the new cart . . . and when they came 
to Nachon's threshing-floor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the 
ark of God, and took hold of it ; for the oxen shook it. And 
the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God 
smote him there for his error ; and there he died by the ark 
of God. " 2 Samuel, vi. 4-7. Dante makes a striking 
reference to this presumption of Uzzah in his Letter to the 
Cardinals. Ep. viii. §5. t 

7. v. 60. The hearing said " No," the sight said 
•« Yes." The division of the people in seven bands is told 
of in the Vulgate, but not in the English version. 

76 PURGATORY [vv. 61-76 

like manner, by the smoke of the incense that 
was imaged there, my eyes and nose were made 
in Tes and No discordant. There, preceding 
the blessed vessel, dancing, girt up, was the 
humble Psalmist, and more and less than king 
was he on that occasion. Opposite, portrayed 
at a window of a great palace, Michal was look- 
ing on, even as a lady scornful and troubled. 8 

I moved my feet from the place where I was 
standing, in order to look from near at another 
story which, beyond Michal, was gleaming white 
to me. Here was storied the high glory of the 
Roman prince, whose worth incited Gregory 
to his great victory : 9 I speak of Trajan the 

8. v. 69. " So David went and brought up the ark of 
God . . . into the city of David with gladness. And when 
they that bare the ark of the Lord had gone six paces he sac- 
rificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the 
Lord with all his might ; and David was girded with a linen 
ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the 
ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the 
trumpet. And as the ark of the Lord came into the city of 
David, Michal, Saul's daughter, looked through a window, 
and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord ; 
and she despised him in her heart." 2 Samuel, vi. 12-16. 

9. v. 75. This legend of Trajan had great vogue dur- 
ing the Middle Ages. It was believed that Pope Gregory the 
Great interceded for him, praying that he might be delivered 
from Hell ; " then God because of these prayers drew that 
soul from pain and put it into glory." This was Gregory's 
great victory. See Paradise, xx. 1 06-1 17. 

vv. 77-103] CANTO X 77 

emperor ; and a poor widow was at his bridle in 
attitude of weeping and of grief. Round about 
him it seemed trampled and thronged with 
knights, and above him the eagles in the gold 
were moving in appearance in the wind. The 
wretched woman among all these seemed to 
be saying : " Lord, do me vengeance for my 
son who is slain, whereat I am broken-hearted." 
And he to answer her : " Now wait till I re- 
turn ; " and she : " My Lord," — like one 
in whom grief is urgent, — " if thou return 
not ? " And he : " He who shall be where I 
am will do it for thee." And she : " What will 
the good deed of another be to thee, if thou 
art unmindful of thine own ? " Whereon he : 
" Now comfort thee ; for it behoves that I 
discharge my duty ere I go ; justice so wills, 
and pity holds me back." He who never 
beheld a new thing IO produced that visible 
speech, novel to us, because it is not found on 

While I was delighting myself with looking 
at the images of such great humilities, and for 
their Maker's sake dear to see : " Behold," 
murmured the Poet, "on this side many peo- 
ple, but they make few steps ; they will put us 
on the way to the lofty stairs." My eyes which 
were intent on gazing, were not slow in turning 
10. v. 94. God, to whom nothing can be new. 

78 PURGATORY [w. 104-129 

toward him in order to see novelties, whereof 
they are fain. 

I would not, indeed, Reader, that thou be 
diverted from thy good purpose, through hear- 
ing how God wills that the debt be paid. Heed 
not the form of the suffering ; think on what 
follows ; think that, at the worst, beyond the 
Great Judgment it cannot go ! 

I began : " Master, that which I see moving 
toward us does not seem to me to be persons, 
but what I know not, I am so at loss in look- 
ing." And he to me : " The heavy condition 
of their torment bows them to earth, so that 
my own eyes at first had contention with it. 
But look fixedly there, and disentangle with 
thy sight that which is coming beneath those 
stones ; already thou canst discern how each is 

O proud Christians, wretched and weary, 
who, diseased in vision of the mind, have con- 
fidence in backward steps, are ye not aware that 
we are worms born to form the angelic butter- 
fly, which flies unto judgment without de- 
fence ? " Wherefore does your mind float up 
aloft, since ye are as it were defective insects, 
even as a worm in which formation fails ? I2 

11. v. 126. The soul comes bare and defenceless to 

12. v. 129. What reason to exalt yourselves, what 

vv. 130-139] CANTO X 79 

As to support ceiling or roof, by way of cor- 
bel, a figure is sometimes seen joining its knees 
to its breast, which out of the unreal gives birth 
to a real distress in him who sees it, thus fash- 
ioned did I see these, when I gave good heed. 
True it is, that they were more or less bowed 
down, according as they had more or less upon 
their backs ; and he who had most patience in 
his looks, weeping, appeared to say : " I can no 

excuse for pride have ye men, since all men are by nature im- 
perfect beings ? 


First Ledge : the Proud. — Prayer. — Omberto Aldo- 
brandeschi. — Oderisi d* Agubbio. — Provenzan Salvani. 

" O our Father, who art in Heaven, not cir- 
cumscribed, but for the greater love which Thou 
hast * to the first works on high, praised be Thy 
name and Thy power by every creature, as it is 
meet to render thanks to Thy sweet effluence. 
May the peace of Thy Kingdom come unto us, 
for if it come not, we cannot unto it of our- 
selves, with all our striving. As Thine angels, 
singing Hosanna, make sacrifice to Thee of 
their will, so may men make of theirs. Give us 
this day the daily manna, without which, in this 
rough desert, he backward goes, who toils most 
to go on. And as we forgive to each the 
wrong that we have suffered, even do Thou, 
benignant, forgive, and regard not our desert. 
Our virtue, which is easily overcome, put not 

i. v. 3. Not circumscribed by Heaven, but having 
Thy seat there because of the love Thou bearest to " the first 
effects' ' — the first works of creation, the angels, and the 
heavens — of Thyself the First Cause. 

vv. 20-38] CANTO XI 81 

to proof with the old adversary, but deliver 
from him who so assails it. 2 This last prayer, 
dear Lord, is, indeed, not made for ourselves, 
for it is not needful, but for those who have 
remained behind us." 3 

Thus praying good speed for themselves and 
us, those shades were all going under their load, 
like that of which one sometimes dreams, un- 
equally distressed, 4 round and round and weary, 
along the first cornice, purging away the sullies 
of the world. If good is always asked for us 
there, what can be said and done here 5 for 
them by those who have a good root to their 
will ? Truly we ought to aid them to wash 
away the marks which they bore hence, so that 
pure and light they may issue forth unto the 
starry wheels. 6 

" Ah ! so may justice and pity disburden 
you speedily, that ye may be able to move the 

2. v. 21. Literally, "spurs it." In this case, as in 
many others, the rhyme seems to have compelled Dante to 
use a word with a somewhat strained significance. 

3. v. 24. Within Purgatory the Devil has no power 
to urge to sin ; the penitent is safe from temptation. Com- 
pare Canto xxvi. 1 30-1 32. In the Ante-purgatory the souls 
are still subject to the assaults of the Devil, as appears from 
the assault of the snake in Canto viii. 

4. v. 28. More or less burdened. 

5. v. 32. Here, on earth. 

6. v. 36. The spheres of the heavens. 

82 PURGATORY [w. 39-63 

wing which may lift you according to your de- 
sire, show on which hand is the shortest path 
toward the stairway ; and if there be more than 
one passage, point out to us that which least 
steeply slopes ; for this one who comes with me, 
because of the burden of the flesh of Adam 
wherewith he is clothed, is chary, against his will, 
of mounting up." It was not manifest from 
whom came the words which they returned to 
these that he whom I was following had spoken, 
but it was said : " Come with us to the right 
hand along the bank, and ye will find the pass 
possible for a living person to ascend. And 
were I not hindered by the stone which tames 
my proud neck, so that I needs must carry 
my face low, I would look at that one who is 
still alive and has not been named, to see if 
I know him, and to make him pitiful of this 
burden. I was an Italian, and the son of a 
great Tuscan ; Guglielmo Aldobrandesco was 
my father : I know not if his name was ever 
with you. 7 The ancient blood and the gallant 
deeds of my ancestors made me so arrogant, 
that, not thinking on the common mother, I 

7. v. 60. The Aldobrandeschi were the counts of Santa- 
fiore (see Canto vi. m) in the Sienese Maremma. Little 
is known of them, but that they were in constant feud with 
Siena. The one who speaks was murdered, in his own strong- 
hold of Campagnatico, in 1259. 

w. 64-88] CANTO XI 83 

held every man in scorn to such extreme that I 
died therefor, as the Sienese know, and every 
child in Campagnatico knows it. I am Om- 
berto : and not only to me pride does harm, 
for all rny kinsfolk has it dragged with it into 
calamity; and here must I bear this load for 
it till God be satisfied, — here, among the 
dead, since I did it not among the living." 

Listening, I bent down my face ; and one of 
them, not he who was speaking, twisted him- 
self under the weight that hampers him, and 
saw me, and recognized me, and called out, 
keeping his eyes with effort fixed on me, who 
was going along all stooping with them. 8 " Oh," 
said I to him, " art thou not Oderisi, the honor 
of Gubbio, and the honor of that art which in 
Paris is called illuminating ? " " Brother," said 
he, " more smiling are the leaves that Franco 
of Bologna pencils ; the honor is now all his, 
and mine in part. 9 Truly I should not have 
been so courteous while I lived, because of the 
great desire of excelling whereon my heart was 
intent. Of such pride the fee is paid here ; and 

8. v. 78. This stooping, as if burdened like the sinners, 
is the symbol of Dante's consciousness of pride as his own 
besetting sin; sec Canto xiii. 136-138. 

9. v. 84.. Oderisi of Gubbio and Franco of Bologna 
were both eminent in the art called rniniare in Italian, en- 
lumincr in French. 

84 PURGATORY [vv. 89-108 

I should not yet be here, were it not that, still 
having power to sin, I turned me unto God. 
O vainglory of human powers ! how short while 
lasts the green upon the top, if it be not fol- 
lowed by dull ages. 10 Cimabue thought to hold 
the field in painting, and now Giotto has the 
cry, so that the fame of him is obscured. In 
like manner the one Guido has taken from 
the other the glory of our tongue ; and he per- 
haps is born who shall drive both one and the 
other from the nest." Worldly renown is 
naught but a breath of wind, which now comes 
this way and now comes that, and changes 
name because it changes quarter. What more 
repute shalt thou have, if thou strippest thy 
flesh from thee when it is old, than if thou 
hadst died before thou hadst left thy pap and 
thy rattle, 12 ere a thousand years have passed ? — 
which is a shorter space compared to the eter- 
nal than a movement of the eyelid to the circle 
which is slowest turned in Heaven. With him 

10. v. 93. Dark ages, in which there is no lustre to dim 
that of the past. 

11. v. 99. The first Guido is Guido Guinicelli, whom 
Dante calls his father in poesy ; see Canto xxvi. 97-99. 
The other, Dante's friend, Guido Cavalcanti. He who may 
drive both from the nest can be no other than Dante him- 

12. v. 105. Dante's words are pappo and dindi, child- 
ish terms corresponding to our "pap" and "chink." 

vv. 109-127] CANTO XI 85 

who takes so little I3 of the road in front of me, 
all Tuscany resounded, and now is scarce a 
whisper of him in Siena, whereof he was lord 
when the Florentine rage was destroyed, 14 which 
at that time was proud, as now it is prostitute. 
Your reputation is as the color of grass, which 
comes and goes, and he I5 discolors it through 
whom it came up fresh from the earth." And 
I to him : " Thy true speech fills my heart with 
good humility, and thou abatest a great swell- 
ing in me: but who is he of whom thou now 
wert speaking ? " " That," he answered, " is 
Provenzan Salvani ; l6 and he is here, because 
he was presumptuous in bringing all Siena to 
his hands. He has gone thus — and he goes 
without repose — ever since he died : such coin 
does every one pay in satisfaction, who is too 
daring on earth." And I : "If that spirit who 

13. v. 109. Advances so slowly on the road. 

14. v. 112. The mad Florentine people were utterly 
defeated, with vast loss of life, in 1 260, at the battle of 

15. v. 116. As the sun causes the grass to spring up 
green, and then dries it up, so Time in his course first gives 
reputation to men, and then takes it away. 

16. v. 1 2 1 . Provenzano Salvani was one of the chief 
supporters of the Ghibelline cause in Tuscany. He was a 
man of great qualities and capacity, but proud and presump- 
tuous. Defeated and taken prisoner at the battle of Colle, 
in 1 269, he was beheaded. 

86 PURGATORY [vv. 128-142 

awaits the verge of life ere he repent abides 
there below, 17 and, if good prayer do not assist 
him, ascends not hither, until as long a time 
pass as he lived, how has this coming been 
granted unto him?" "When he was living 
in greatest boast," said he, " laying aside all 
shame, he freely stationed himself in the Campo 
of Siena/ 8 and there, to deliver his friend from 
the punishment he was enduring in the prison 
of Charles, brought himself to tremble in every 
vein. More I will not say, and I know that I 
speak darkly ; but little time will pass, before 
thy neighbors will so act that thou shalt be able 
to gloss it. 19 This deed removed those limits 
for him." 2 ° 

17. v. 129. On the lower slopes of the mountain, out- 
side the gate of Purgatory. 

18. v. 134. The Campo of Siena is her chief public 
square and marketplace, set round with palaces. The friend 
of Provenzano is said by the old commentators to have fought 
for Conradin against Charles of Anjou, and, being taken cap- 
tive, to have been condemned to death. His ransom was 
fixed at ten thousand florins. Provenzano, not being able to 
pay this sum from his own means, took his station in the 
Campo, and humiliated himself to beg of the passers-by. 

19. v. 141. Thou wilt be able to interpret my dark 
saying, for exile and poverty will compel thee to beg, and, 
begging, to tremble in every vein. 

20. v. 142. This deed of humility and charity relieved 
him from tarrying outside the gate. 


First Ledge : the Proud. — Instances of the punish- 
ment of Pride graven on the pavement. — Meeting with 
an Angel who removes one of the P's. — Ascent to the 
Second Ledge. 

With even pace, like oxen that go yoked, I 
went on with that burdened soul so long as the 
sweet Pedagogue allowed it ; but when he said : 
" Leave him, and pass on, for here it is well 
for every one to urge his bark, both with the sail 
and with the oars, as much as he can," I strait- 
ened up my body again, as is required for 
walking, although my thoughts remained both 
stooping and abased. 

I had moved on, and was following willingly 
the steps of my Master, and both were now 
showing how light we were, when he said to 
me : " Turn thine eyes downward ; it will be 
well for thee, in order to cheer the way, to look 
upon the bed of thy footsteps." As above the 
buried, so that there may be memory of them, 
their tombs on the ground bear engraved what 
they were before, — whence often is weeping 

88 PURGATORY [vv. 20-40 

for them there, through the pricking of remem- 
brance, which only to the pious gives the spur, 
— so I saw figured there, but of better sem- 
blance in respect of the workmanship, all that 
for pathway juts out from the mountain. 

I saw, on one side, him who was created more 
noble than any other creature, falling down as 
lightning from heaven. 1 

I saw Briareus, 2 on the other side, transfixed 
by the celestial bolt, lying heavy upon the earth 
in mortal chill. 

I saw Thymbraeus, 3 I saw Pallas and Mars, 
still armed, around their father, gazing at the 
scattered limbs of the giants. 

I saw Nimrod at the foot of his great toil, as 
if bewildered, and looking round upon the peo- 
ple that had been proud with him in Shinar. 

O Niobe ! with what grieving eyes did I see 
thee portrayed upon the road between thy seven 
and seven children slain ! 

O Saul ! how on thine own sword didst thou 

1. v. 27. Lucifer. " I beheld Satan as lightning fall 
from Heaven.' ' Luke x. 16. 

2. v. 28. Examples from classic and biblical mythology 
alternate. Briareus, one of the giants who fought against the 
gods. See Hell, xxxi. 98. 

3. v. 31. Apollo, so called from his temple at Thym- 
bra, not far from Troy, where Achilles is said to have slain 
Paris. Virgil (Georgics, iv. 323) uses this epithet. 

vv. 41-55] CANTO XII 89 

here appear dead on Gilboa, which thereafter 
felt not rain or dew ! 4 

O foolish Arachne, 5 so did I see thee, already- 
half spider, wretched on the shreds of the work 
which to thy harm by thee was made ! 

O Rehoboam ! here thine image seems not 
now to threaten, but a chariot bears it away full 
of terror before anyone pursues it;. 6 

The hard pavement showed also how costly 
to his mother Alcmaeon made the ill-fated orna- 
ment appear. 7 

It showed how his sons threw themselves 
upon Sennacherib within the temple, and how, 
he dead, they left him there. 8 

It showed the ruin and the cruel butchery 

4. v. 42. 1 Samuel xxxi. 4. " Ye mountains of Gil - 
boa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you." 
2 Samuel i. 21. 

5. v. 43. Changed to a spider by Athena, whom she 
had challenged to a trial of skill at the loom. 

6. v. 48. " Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who 
was over the tribute ; and all Israel stoned him with stones, 
that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get 
him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem." 1 Kings xii. 1 8. 

7. v. 51. Amphiaraiis, the soothsayer, foreseeing his 
own death if he went to the Theban war, hid himself to 
avoid being forced to go. His wife, Eriphyle, bribed by an 
ill-fated golden necklace made by Vulcan, betrayed his hiding- 
place, and was killed by her son Alcmaeon, for thus bringing 
about his father's death. 

8. v. 54. 2 Kings xix. 37. 

90 PURGATORY [w. 56-73 

that Tomyris wrought, when she said to Cyrus, 
" For blood thou hast thirsted, and with blood 
I fill thee."' 

It showed how the Assyrians fled in rout 
after Holofernes was killed, and also the rem- 
nants of the victim. 10 

I saw Troy in ashes, and in caverns : O 
Ilion, how cast down and abject did the image 
which is there discerned show thee ! 

What Master has there been of pencil or of 
style that could draw the shadows and the lines 
which there would make every subtile genius 
wonder ? Dead seemed the dead, and the living 
alive. He who saw the truth saw not better 
than I all that I trod on, while I went bent 
down. — Now be ye proud, and go your way 
with haughty look, ye sons of Eve, and bend 
not down your face so that ye may see your 
evil path ! 

More of the mountain had now been circled 

9. v. 57. Herodotus (i. 214) tells how Tomyris, 
Queen of the Massagetae, having defeated and slain Cyrus, 
filled a skin full of human blood, and plunged his head in it, 
with words such as Dante reports, and which he took from 
Orosius, Hist. ii. 7. 

10. v. 60. "Behold Holofernes lieth upon the ground 
without a head. . . . And fear and trembling fell upon 
them, so that .... rushing out all together, they fled into 
every way of the plain, and of the hill country.' ' Judith 
xiv. 18 : xv. 2. 

vv. 74-97] CANTO XII 91 

by us, and of the sun's course far more spent, 
than my mind, not disengaged, 11 was aware, when 
he, who always went attentive in advance, be- 
gan : " Lift up thy head ; there is no longer 
time for going thus abstracted. See yonder an 
Angel, who is making ready to come toward 
us : see how the sixth hand-maiden is returning 
from the service of the day. 12 With rever- 
ence adorn thine acts and thy face so that it 
may please him to direct us upward. Think 
that this day never dawns again." 

I was well used to his admonition never to 
lose time, 13 so that on that theme he could not 
speak to me obscurely. 

The beautiful creature came toward us, 
clothed in white, and in his face such as seems 
the tremulous morning star. His arms he 
opened, and then he opened his wings ; he said : 
" Come : here at hand are the steps, and easily 
henceforth does one ascend. Very few come 
to these tidings. O human race, born to fly 
upward, wherefore at a little wind dost thou so 
fall ? " 

He led us to where the rock was cleft ; here 

11. v. 75. Cf. Canto iv. 7-12. 

12. v. 81. The sixth hour of the day is coming to its 
end, near noon. 

13. v. 86. "To lose time most displeases him who 
most knows,* ' had Virgil said the day before. Canto iii. 78. 

92 PURGATORY [vv. 98-109 

he struck his wings across my forehead, 14 then 
promised me secure progress. 

As on the right hand, to ascend the moun- 
tain, 15 where the church sits which above Ruba- 
conte l6 dominates the well-guided I7 city, the 
bold flight of the ascent is broken by the stairs, 
which were made in an age when the record and 
the stave were secure, 18 so the bank which falls 
here very steeply from the next round is made 
easier ; but on this side and that the high rock 
grazes. 19 As we turned our persons thither, 

14. v. 98. Removing the first P that the Angel of the 
Gate had incised on Dante's brow. 

15. v. 100. The hill of San Miniato, above the city of 

16. v. 102. The upper bridge at Florence across the 
Arno, named after Messer Rubaconte da Mandello, podesta 
of Florence, who laid the first stone of it in 1237 ; now 
called the Ponte alle Grazie, after a little chapel built upon it 
in 1 47 1 , and dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. 

17. v. 102. Ironical. 

18. v. 105. In the good old time when men were hon- 
est. In 1 299 one Messer Niccola Acciaiuoli, in order to 
conceal a fraudulent transaction, had a leaf torn out from the 
public notarial record ; and about the same time an officer in 
charge of the revenue from salt, for the sake of private gain, 
measured the salt he received with an honest measure, but 
that which he sold with a measure diminished by the removal 
of a stave. 

19. v. 108. The stairway is so narrow that the rock on 
either side grazes him who mounts. 

vv. 110-130] CANTO XII 93 

voices sang " Beati pauperes spiritu " 2 ° in such 
wise that speech could not tell it. Ah, how 
different are these passes from those of Hell ! 
for here one enters with songs, and there below 
with fierce lamentations. 

Already we were mounting up over the holy 
stairs, and it seemed to me I was far more light 
than I had seemed before upon the plain. 
Whereon I : " Master, say, what heavy thing 
has been lifted from me, so that almost no 
fatigue is felt by me as I go on ? " He an- 
swered : " When the P's which, almost extinct, 21 
still remain on thy forehead, shall be, as one is, 
quite erased, thy feet will be so conquered by 
good-will, that not only they will not feel fatigue 
but it will be delight to them to be urged up- 
ward." Then I did like those who are going 
with something on their head unknown to them, 
unless the signs of others make them suspect ; 
wherefore the hand assists to ascertain, and 

20. v. 1 10. " Blessed are the poor in spirit." See 
note to Canto x. 3 1 . 

21. v. 122. Almost extinct, because in the removal of 
the P which stood for Pride, the others had grown faint, for 
as St. Thomas Aquinas says, " Pride, by which we are 
chiefly turned from God, is the first and the origin of all 
sins." He adds, " Pride is said to be the beginning of every 
sin, not because every single sin has its immediate source in 
pride, but because every kind {genus) of sin is born of 
pride." S. T. ii. a 162. 7. 

94 PURGATORY [vv. 131-136 

seeks and finds, and performs that office which 
cannot be accomplished by the sight ; and with 
the fingers of my right hand outspread, I found 
six only of those letters which he of the keys 
had incised upon my temples : looking at which 
my Leader smiled. 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — Examples of Love. — 
The Shades in haircloth^ and with sealed eyes. — Sapia 
of Siena. 

We were at the top of the stairway, where 
the mountain, ascent of which frees one from 
ill, is for the second time cut back. There a 
cornice binds the hill round about, in like man- 
ner as the first, except that its arc curves more 
quickly. 1 No figure is there, nor mark which 
is apparent ; 2 thus the bank appears bare and 
thus appears the path, with but the livid color 
of the stone. 

" If to enquire one waits here for people," 
said the Poet, " I fear that perhaps our choice 3 
will have too much delay." Then he set his 
eyes fixedly on the sun, made of his right 

i. v. 6. As the conical mountain rises each ledge around 
it has a less circumference. 

2. v. 7. No sculptured or engraved scenes are here, 
because the envious, who are expiating their sin in this cor- 
nice, deprived of the use of the eyes which they misused on 
earth, would be unable to see them. 

3. v. 12. The choice of the right path. 

96 PURGATORY [vv. 14-32 

side the centre for his movement, and turned 
the left part of himself. " O sweet light, with 
confidence in which I enter on the new road, 
do thou lead us on it," he said, " as there is 
need for leading here within. Thou warmest 
the world, thou shinest upon it ; if other reason 
prompt not to the contrary, thy rays ought 
ever to be guides." 4 

As far as here on earth is reckoned for a 
mile, so far had we now gone on from there, in 
short time because of ready will. And toward 
us were heard flying, not however seen, spirits 
uttering courteous invitations to the table of 
love. The first voice which passed flying, said 
loudly: c< Vinum non habent" s and went on 
behind us reiterating it. And before it had 
become quite inaudible through distance, an- 
other passed by, crying : cc I am Orestes," 6 and 

4. v. 21. The Sun here, as elsewhere, is the symbol 
of the illuminating grace of God ; and the words, " if other 
reason prompt not to the contrary ' ' may refer to the condi- 
tions of the souls in Purgatory, not yet capable of following 
upward the guidance of the Sun, but compelled, by their 
desire for purgation, to remain upon the ledges where their 
sins are expiated. 

5. v. 24. " They have no wine.' ' John 11.3. The 
words of Mary at the wedding feast of Cana, symbolic of a 
kindness that is a rebuke of envy. 

6. v. 32. The words of Pylades, before Aegisthus, 
when contending with Orestes to be put to death in his stead. 

w. 33-57] CANTO XIII 97 

also did not stay. " O Father," said I, "what 
voices are these ? " and even as I was asking, 
lo ! the third, saying : " Love them from whom 
ye have had evil." And the good Master : 
" This circle scourges the sin of envy, and 
therefore the lashes of the scourge are drawn 
from love. The curb must be of the contrary 
sound ; I believe, according to my judgment, 
that thou wilt hear it, before thou arrivest at the 
pass of pardon. 7 But fix thine eyes intently 
through the air, and thou wilt see in front of us 
people sitting, and each is seated against the 
cliff." Then more than before I opened my 
eyes ; I looked in front of me, and saw shades 
with cloaks in color not different from the 
stone. And when we were a little further for- 
ward, I heard cry : " Mary, pray for us ! " and 
a cry on Michael, and Peter, and all the 

I do not believe there goes on earth to-day 
a man so hard that he would not be pierced with 
compassion at that which I then saw. For when 
I had approached so near to them that their 
actions came surely to me, tears were drawn from 
my eyes by heavy grief. 8 They seemed to me 

7. v. 42. At the stair, leading to the third ledge, at the 
foot of which stands the angel who cancels the sign of envy. 

8. v. 57. Literally, "through my eyes I was milked 
of heavy grief. " 

98 PURGATORY [vv. 58-84 

covered with coarse haircloth, and one was sup- 
porting the other with his shoulder, and all 
were supported by the bank. Thus the blind, 
who lack subsistence, wait at pardons 9 to beg 
for what they need, and one bows his head upon 
another, so that pity may quickly be moved in 
others, not only by the sound of their words, 
but by the sight which implores no less. And as 
the sun profits not the blind, so to the shades, 
in that place of which I was just now speaking, 
the light of Heaven wills not to make largess 
of itself ; for an iron wire pierces the eyelids of 
all ; even as is done to a wild hawk, because it 
stays not quiet. 

It seemed to me I was doing outrage in going 
on, seeing others, not being seen myself, where- 
fore I turned me to my sage counsellor. Well 
did he know what the dumb wished to say, 
and therefore waited not my asking, but said : 
" Speak, and be brief and to the point." 

Virgil was coming with me on that side of 
the cornice from which one may fall, because it 
is encircled by no rim. On the other side of 
me were the devout shades, who through the 
horrible suture were so pressing out their tears 
that they bathed their cheeks. I turned me to 

9. v. 62. On occasion of special indulgences the beg- 
gars gather at the door of churches frequented by those who 
seek the pardons to be obtained within. 

vv. 85-107] CANTO XIII 99 

them, and : " O folk," I began, " assured of 
seeing the Light on high which your desire has 
alone in its care, may grace speedily dissolve 
the scum from off your conscience so that 
the stream of memory may flow down through it 
clear, 10 tell me, for it will be gracious and dear 
to me, if there be a soul here among you that 
is Italian, and perhaps it will be good for him 
if I learn it." " O my brother, each of us is a 
citizen of one true city," but thou meanest 
one who lived in Italy while a pilgrim. " " It 
seemed to me I heard this for answer somewhat 
farther on than where I was standing ; where- 
fore I made myself heard still more that way. 
Among the others I saw a shade that was ex- 
pectant in look ; and, if any one should wish to 
ask : How? — it was lifting up its chin in the 
manner of a blind man. " Spirit," said I, " that 
art subduing thyself in order to ascend, if thou 
art that one which answered me, make thyself 
known to me either by place or by name." " I 
was of Siena," it answered, " and with these 
others I cleanse here my guilty life, weeping to 

10. v. 90. So that purified from sin they shall retain 
no memory of it. 

11. v. 95. " Fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the 
household of God." Ephesians ii. 19. 

12. v. 96. M For here have we no continuing city, but 
we seek one to come." Hebrews xiii. 14. 

ioo PURGATORY [vv. 108-128 

Him that He vouchsafe Himself to us. Sapi- 
ent I was not, although I was called Sapia, I3 and 
I was far more glad of others' harm than of my 
own good fortune. And that thou mayst not 
believe that I deceive thee, hear whether I was 
foolish as I tell thee. When the arch of my years 
was already descending, my fellow-citizens were 
joined in battle near to Colle I4 with their adver- 
saries, and I prayed to God for that which He 
willed. They were routed there, and turned into 
the bitter passes of flight; and I, seeing the pur- 
suit, experienced a joy unmatched by any other ; 
so much that I turned upward my audacious 
face, crying out to God : c Henceforth no more 
I fear thee ; ' as the blackbird does because of a 
little fair weather. At the very end of my life I 
desired peace with God ; and even yet my debt 
would not have been lessened by penitence, 15 had 
it not been that Pier Pettinagno, 16 who out of 

13. v. 109. A lady said by Benvenuto to have been by 
birth or marriage of the family of the Bigozzi, who held a 
stronghold about four miles from Colle, in the territory of 

14. v. 1 1 5. This was the battle in 1 269, in which the 
Florentines routed the Sienese Ghibellines, at whose head was 
Provenzano Salvani. See Canto xi. 1 21-123. 

15. v. 126. I should not yet within Purgatory have di- 
minished my debt of expiation, but, because I delayed repent- 
ance till the hour of death, I should still be outside the gate. 

16. v. 128. A poor comb-dealer, a man of kind heart, 

vv. 129-151] CANTO XIII 101 

charity was sorry for me, held me in memory in 
his holy prayers. But who art thou that goest 
asking of our conditions, and carryest thine eyes 
loosed as I think, and breathing dost speak ? " 
" My eyes," said I, " will yet be taken from me 
here ; but for a short time, for small is the of- 
fence committed through their being turned with 
envy. Far greater is the fear, with which my 
soul is in suspense, of the torment below, and 
the load down there already weighs upon me." 
And she to me : " Who then hath led thee 
up here among us, if thou thinkest to re- 
turn below ? " And I : " This one who is 
with me, and who says not a word : and I am 
alive ; and therefore ask of me, spirit elect, if 
thou wouldst that on earth I should yet move 
for thee my mortal feet." " Oh, this is so 
strange a thing to hear," she replied, "that it is a 
great sign that God loves thee ; therefore assist 
me sometimes with thy prayer. And I be- 
seech thee, by that which thou most desirest, 
that, if ever thou tread the earth of Tuscany, 
thou restore me to good fame among my kin- 
dred. Thou wilt see them among that vain 
people I? which hopes in Talamone,' 8 and will 

honest dealings, and good deeds, and still remembered for them 
in Siena. He died in 1289. 

17. v. 151. Cf. He// xxix. 122. 

18. v. 152. A little port on the coast of Tuscany, on 

102 PURGATORY [vv. 152-154 

there lose more hope, than in finding the 
Diana ; I9 but the admirals will there lose even 
more." 2 ° 

which the Sienese wasted toil and money in the vain hope 
that, by strengthening and enlarging it, they could make 
themselves rivals at sea of the Pisans and Genoese. 

19. v. 153. A subterranean stream supposed to flow be- 
neath the city, which the Sienese often sought in vain to find. 

20. v. 154. Of these last words the meaning was ob- 
scure even to the earliest commentators. 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — Guido del Duca. — 
Rinieri de' Calboli. — Instances of the punishment of 

" Who is this that circles our mountain ere 
death have given him flight, and opens and 
shuts his eyes at his own will i" * "I know 
not who he is, but I know that he is not alone. 
Do thou, who art nearer to him, ask him ; 
and sweetly, so that he may speak, accost him." 
Thus two spirits, leaning one to the other, dis- 
coursed of me there on the right hand, then 
turned their faces up to speak to me ; and one 
of them said : " O soul, that still fixed in thy 
body art going on toward heaven, for charity 
console us, and tell us whence thou comest, 
and who thou art ; for thou makest us so greatly 
marvel at this thy grace, as needs must a thing 
that never was before. " And I : " Through 

I . v. 3 . These words are spoken by Guido del Duca, 
who is answered by Rinieri de' Calboli ; both of them of 
illustrious family, and men of note and honor in the Ro- 
magna, during the thirteenth century. Guido was a Ghibel- 
line, Rinieri a Guelf. 

104 PURGATORY [vv. 16-38 

mid Tuscany there wanders a little stream, that 
has its source on Falterona, 2 and a hundred 
miles of course does not suffice it. From there- 
upon I bring this body. To tell you who I 
am would be to speak in vain, for my name as 
yet makes no great sound." " If I rightly 
penetrate thy meaning with my understanding," 
then replied to me he who had spoken first, 
" thou speakest of the Arno." And the other 
said to him : " Why did he conceal the name 
of that river, even as a man does of horrible 
things ? " And the shade of whom this was 
asked, delivered itself thus : " I know not, but 
truly it is fit that the name of such a valley 3 
perish, for from its source (where the rugged 
mountain chain, from which Pelorus is cut off, 
is so teeming that in few places does it pass be- 
yond that mark 4 ), far as there where it renders 
itself to restore that which heaven sucks up 
from the sea, whence the rivers have what flows 
in them, virtue is driven away as an enemy by 
all men, even as a serpent, either through ill— 

2. v. 17. One of the highest of the Tuscan Apennines. 

3. v. 30. The valley derives its name from the river. 

4. v. 3 3 . The chain of the Apennines, — the backbone 
of Italy, from which Pelorus, the high northeastern headland 
of Sicily, seems, as it were, cut off, — is nowhere more 
teeming with waters than on Monte Falterona, where the 
Tiber, as well as the Arno, has its source. 

w. 39-58] CANTO XIV 105 

fortune of the place, or through evil habit that 
incites them. Wherefore the inhabitants of the 
wretched valley have so changed their nature 
that it seems as though Circe had them in her 
feeding. Among foul hogs, 5 more fit for acorns 
than for other food made for human use, it 
first directs its poor path. Then, coming down, 
it finds curs, 6 more snarling than their power 
warrants, and from them disdainfully it twists its 
muzzle. 7 It goes on falling, and the more it 
swells so much the more does the accursed and 
ill-fated ditch find the dogs becoming wolves. 8 
Descending then through many hollow depths, 
it finds the foxes 9 so full of fraud, that they 
fear not wit which may entrap them. Nor will 
I cease to speak because another may hear me : 
and well it will be for this man if hereafter he 
mind him of that which a spirit of truth discloses 
to me. 

" I see thy grandson, 10 who becomes a hunter 

The people of the Casentino, the upper valley 

The curs of Arezzo. 

Turning westward. 

The wolves of Florence. 

The foxes of Pisa. 
10. v. 58. Fulcieri da Calboli, — grandson of Rinieri, 
to whom Guido del Duca is speaking, — «« a fierce and cruel 
man," was made podesta of Florence in 1302. He put to 
death many of the White Guelfs, and banished more of 




of the Arno. 













106 PURGATORY [vv. 59-85 

of those wolves upon the bank of the fierce 
stream, and terrifies them all. He sells their 
flesh, 11 it being yet alive ; then he slaughters 
them like aged cattle ; many of life, himself 
of honor he deprives. Bloody he comes forth 
from the dismal wood ; I2 he leaves it such, 
that from now for a thousand years it is not 
rewooded in its primal state." 

As at the announcement of grievous ills, the 
face of him who listens is disturbed, from what 
quarter soever the peril may assail him, so I 
saw the other soul, that was staying turned to 
hear, become disturbed and sad, when it had 
gathered to itself the words. 

The speech of the one and the look of the 
other made me wishful to know their names, 
and I made request for it, mixed with prayers. 
Wherefore the spirit which had first spoken to 
me began again : " Thou wishest that I conde- 
scend to do for thee that which thou wilt not 
do for me ; but since God wills that such great 
grace of His shine through in thee, I will not 
be chary to thee ; therefore know that I am 
Guido del Duca. My blood was so inflamed 
with envy, that had I seen a man becoming 
joyful, thou wouldst have seen me overspread 
with hue of spite. Of my own sowing such 

11. v. 6 1 . Bribed by the opposite party. 

12. v. 64. Florence, spoiled and undone. 

vv. 86-ioo] CANTO XIV 107 

straw I reap. O human race, why dost thou 
set thy heart there where exclusion of a com- 
panion is needful ? I3 

" This one is Rinier ; this is the glory and the 
honor of the house of Calboli, 14 where no one 
since has made himself heir of his worth. And 
between the Po and the mountain, and the sea 
and the Reno, 15 not his race only has become 
stripped of the good requisite for truth and for 
delight ; for within these boundaries the land 
is full of poisonous stocks, so that slowly would 
they now die out through cultivation. Where 
is the good Lizio, and Arrigo Mainardi, Pier 
Traversaro, and Guido di Carpigna ? l6 O men 
of Romagna turned to bastards ! When in 
Bologna will a Fabbro take root again ? When 

13. v. 87. Why dost thou set thy heart on things which 
others cannot partake with thee ? 

14. v. 89. The castle of Calboli, from which the fam- 
ily derived their name, was not far from Forli. It was de- 
stroyed by Guido da Montefeltro in 1277. 

15. v. 92. That is, in all Romagna, bordered by the 
Po, the Apennines, the Adriatic, and the river Reno. 

16. v. 98. These and others named afterwards were 
well-born, honorable, and courteous men in Romagna in the 
thirteenth century. Benvcnuto says that Guido del Duca and 
Arrigo Mainardi were special friends, and when Arrigo died 
Guido had the wooden seat, on which they had been accus- 
tomed to sit together, sawn apart, declaring that no one re- 
mained like him in liberality and honor. 

108 PURGATORY [vv. 101-121 

in Faenza a Bernardin di Fosco, the noble 
scion of a little plant? Marvel not, Tuscan, 
if I weep, when I remember, with Guido da 
Prata, Ugolin d' Azzo who lived with us, Fe- 
derico Tignoso and his company, the house of 
Traversara, and the Anastagi, (both the one 
race and the other are without heir), the ladies 
and the cavaliers, the toils and the repose for 
which love and courtesy inspired us, there where 
hearts have become so wicked. O Brettinoro, 
why dost thou not make away with thyself/ 7 
since thy family has gone, and many people, in 
order not to become guilty ? Bagnacaval does 
well that it gets no more sons ; and Castro- 
caro does ill, and Conio worse that it still 
troubles itself to beget such counts. 18 The 
Pagani will do well after their Demon shall be 
gone from them ; lg yet not so that a pure tes- 
timony can ever remain to them. O Ugolin 
de' Fantolin, thy name is secure, since no 

17. v. 112. Literally: "why dost thou not flee 
away." Brettinoro is a small town near Forli. It was the 
birthplace of Guido del Duca, and the family to which he 
refers was, perhaps, his own. 

18. v. 117. Bagnacavallo, Castrocaro, and Conio are 
three little towns in Romagna, which had once been the 
homes of worthy men. 

19. v. 119. The Pagani were lords of Faenza and 
Imola ; the Demon was Maghinardo, who died in 1302. 
See Hell, xxvii. 49-51. 

vv. 122-145] CANTO XIV 109 

longer is one to be expected who can make it 
dark by his degeneracy. 20 But go thy way, 
Tuscan, now ; for now it pleases me far more 
to weep than to speak, so much has our dis- 
course wrung my mind." 

We knew that those dear souls heard us go 
on ; therefore by their silence they made us confi- 
dent of the road. After we had become alone 
as we proceeded, a voice, that seemed like light- 
ning when it cleaves the air, came counter to 
us, saying : " Everyone that findeth me shall 
slay me," 2I and fled like thunder which rolls 
away, if suddenly the cloud is rent. Soon as 
our hearing had a truce from it, lo ! now an- 
other with so great a crash that it resembled a 
thunder-clap which follows fast : Cf I am Aglau- 
ros who became a stone. " 22 And then to press 
close to the Poet, I took a step backward and 
not forward. The air was now quiet on every 
side, and he said to me : " That 23 was the hard 
curb which ought to hold a man within his 
bound ; but ye take the bait, so that the hook 

20. v. 123. Both the sons of Ugolino de' Fantolin had 
died without offspring. The Fantolini were of Faenza. 

21. v. 133. The words of Cain. Genesis iv. 14. 

22. v. 139. The daughter of Cecrops, changed to 
stone, because of envy of her sister. 

23. v. 143. These examples of the fatal consequences 
of the sin of envy. 

no PURGATORY [vv. 146-15 1 

of the old adversary draws you to him, and 
therefore little avails bridle or lure. Heaven 
calls you, and revolves around you, displaying 
to you its eternal beauties, and your eye looks 
only on the ground ; wherefore He who dis- 
cerns all things scourges you." 


Second Ledge : the Envious. — An Angel removes the 
second P from Dante's forehead. — Discourse concerning 
the Sharing of Good. — Ascent to the Third Ledge : the 
Wrathful. — Examples of Forbearance seen in Vision. 

As much as, between the beginning of the day 
and the close of the third hour, appears of the 
sphere which is ever sporting in manner of a 
child, so much of his course toward the even- 
ing appeared to be now remaining for the sun. 1 
It was vespers 2 there, and here 3 midnight ; and 
the rays were striking us full in the face, 4 because 
the mountain had been so circled by us that we 

i. v. 5. That is, in simple words, the sun was still some 
three hours from his setting. By " the sphere that ever is 
sportive like a child" Dante probably intends the visible 
sphere of the heavens, which, by its constant apparent gyra- 
tion and ever varying aspect, might suggest the image of a play- 
ful and restless child. 

2. v. 6. Dante uses "vespers" as the term for the last 
of the four canonical divisions of the day ; that is, from three 
to six p. m. See ConvitOy iv. 23. Three o'clock in Purga- 
tory corresponds with midnight in Italy. 

3. v. 6. In Italy. 

4. v. 7. Literally, << on the middle of the nose." 

ii2 PURGATORY [vv. 9-31 

were now going straight toward the sunset, when 
I felt my forehead weighed down by the splendor 
far more than at first, and the things not known 
were a wonder to me : 5 wherefore I lifted my 
hands toward the top of my brows, and made for 
myself the visor which lessens the excess of what 
is seen. 

As when from water, or from a mirror, the ray 
leaps to the opposite quarter, mounting up in 
like manner to that in which it descends, and 
at equal distance departs as much from the fall 
of the stone, 6 as experiment and art show ; so 
it seemed to me that I was struck by light re- 
flected 7 there in front of me, wherefore my 
sight was swift to fly. " What is that, sweet Fa- 
ther, from which I cannot screen my sight so 
much that it may avail me," said I, " and which 
seems to be moving toward us ? " " Marvel 
not if the family of Heaven still dazzle thee," 
he replied to me ; " it is a messenger that comes 
to invite one to ascend. Soon will it be that to 

5. v. 12. The source of this increase of brightness being 
unknown, it caused Dante astonishment. 

6. v. 20. The angle of reflection of a ray being equal 
to that of the angle of incidence, the distance of the direct 
or the reflected ray from the perpendicular — the fall of a 
plummet — at a given point is the same. 

7. v. 22. The light proceeding from the angel seemed 
as if reflected, because it came from a source lower than the 
direct rays of the sun. 

vv. 32-55] CANTO XV 113 

see these things will not be grievous to thee, 
but will be to thee a delight as great as nature 
has fitted thee to feel." 

When we had reached the blessed Angel, with 
a glad voice he said : " Enter ye from here on a 
stairway far less steep than the others." 

We were mounting, already departed thence, 
and " Beati misericordes"* was sung behind 
us, and : " Rejoice thou that overcomest." 

My Master and I, we two alone, were going on 
upward, and I was thinking, as we went, to win 
profit from his words ; and I addressed me to 
him, enquiring thus : " What did the spirit from 
Romagna mean, in speaking of c exclusion ' and 
a c companion ? ' " 9 Wherefore he to me : " Of 
his own greatest fault he knows the harm, and 
therefore it is not to be wondered at if he re- 
buke it, in order that there may be less lament- 
ing for it. Because your desires are directed 
there, where, through companionship, a share is 
lessened, envy moves the bellows for your sighs. 
But if the love of the highest sphere IO turned 
your desire upward, that fear would not be in 
your breast ; for the more there are who there 

8. v. 38. " Blessed are the merciful." 

9. v. 44. In the last canto, vv. 86-87, Guido del Duca 
had exclaimed, " O human race, why dost thou set thy heart 
there where exclusion of a companion is needful ! " 

10. v. 52. The Empyrean. 

ii4 PURGATORY [vv. 56-75 

say c Ours/ so much the more of good doth each 
possess, and the more of charity burns in that 
cloister." 11 " I am more empty of satisfaction," 13 
said I, " than if I had at first been silent, and 
more of doubt I gather in my mind. How can 
it be that a good distributed can make more 
possessors richer with itself, than if it be pos- 
sessed by few ? " And he to me : " Because 
thou fastenest thy mind only on earthly things, 
thou gatherest darkness from the very light. 
That infinite and ineffable Good which is on 
high, runs to love I3 even as a sunbeam comes to 
a lucid body. So much it gives itself as it finds 
of ardor ; so that how far soever charity extends, 
over it does the Eternal Valor spread. And the 
more the people who set their hearts on high the 
more there are for loving well, and the more 
love there is, and like a mirror one reflects to the 

11. v. 57. t{ Char it as addit supra amorem perfectionem 
quamdam amor is." S. T. ii. 1 26. 3. 

" Since good, the more 
Communicated, the more abundant grows." 

Milton, Paradise Lost, v. 73. 

"The secret of virtue is to know that the richer another 
is the richer am I." Emerson, Letters to a Friend, p. 27. 

" True love in this differs from gold and clay, 
That to divide is not to take away." 

Shelley, Epipsychidion. 

12. v. 58. Literally, <{ I am more fasting of being 
contented/ ' 

13. v. 69. Runs to meet the love which is directed to It. 

vv. 76-102] CANTO XV 115 

other. And if my discourse appease not thy 
hunger, thou shalt see Beatrice, and she will fully 
take from thee this and every other longing. 
Strive only that soon may be extinct, as are the 
two already, the five wounds which are closed 
up by being painful." 14 

As I was wishing to say : " Thou dost satisfy 
me : " I saw that I had arrived on the next 
round, 15 so that my eager eyes made me silent. 
There it seemed to me I was of a sudden rapt in 
an ecstatic vision, and saw many persons in a 
temple, and a lady at the entrance, with the sweet 
mien of a mother, saying : " My son, why hast 
thou thus dealt with us ? Behold, thy father 
and I have sought thee, sorrowing." And as 
here she was silent, that which first appeared, 

Then appeared to me another, with those 
waters down along her cheeks which grief dis- 
tils when it is born of great despite toward others, 
and she was saying: "If thou art lord of the 
city about whose name was such great strife 
among the gods, and whence every science spar- 
kles forth, avenge thyself on those audacious 
arms, which have embraced our daughter, O Pi- 
sistratus." And the lord appeared to me, benign 

14. v. 81. With the pain of penitence. 

15. v. 83. The third ledge, on which the sin of anger 
is expiated. 

n6 PURGATORY [w. 103-130 

and mild, to answer her, with temperate look : 
" What shall we do to him who desires ill for 
us, if he who loves us is by us condemned P " l6 

Then I saw people inflamed with fire of wrath, 
killing a youth with stones, loudly crying to each 
other only : " Slay, slay." And I saw him bowed 
toward the ground by death, which now was 
weighing on him, but in such great strife he ever 
made of his eyes gates for heaven, praying to the 
high Lord, with that aspect which unlocks pity, 
that He would pardon his persecutors. 17 

When my mind returned outwardly to the 
things which outside of it are true, I recognized 
my not false errors. My Leader, who could 
see me act like a man who looses himself from 
slumber, said : " What ails thee, that thou canst 
not support thyself? but art come more than 
half a league veiling thine eyes, and with thy 
legs tangled like one whom wine or slumber 
bends." " O my sweet Father, if thou hark- 
enest to me I will tell thee," said I, " what ap- 
peared to me when my legs were thus taken from 
me." And he : " If thou hadst a hundred 
masks upon thy face, thy thoughts, howsoever 
small,would not be hidden from me. That which 
thou hast seen was in order that thou excuse not 

16. v. 105. This story is from Valerius Maximus, 
Facta et dicta mem., vi. 1, § 2. 

17. v. 114. See Acts vii. 55-60. 

vv. 131-145] CANTO XV 117 

thyself from opening thy heart to the waters 
of peace which are poured forth from the eter- 
nal fountain. I did not ask : c What ails thee ? ' 
for the reason that he does who looks only with 
the eye which has no seeing when the body lies 
inanimate ; but I asked, in order to give vigor 
to thy foot ; thus it behoves to spur the slug- 
gards, slow to use their wakefulness when it re- 

We were going on through the vesper time, 
forward intent so far as the eyes could reach 
against the late and shining rays ; and, lo ! little 
by little, a smoke came toward us, dark as night ; 
nor was there place to shelter ourselves from 
it. This took from us our eyes and the pure 


Third Ledge : the Wrathful. — Marco Lombardo. — 
His discourse on Free Will, and the corruption of the 

Gloom of hell, or of night deprived of every 
planet, under a poor sky, darkened by clouds 
as much as it can be, never made so thick a 
veil to my sight, or of so rough a tissue to my 
feeling, as that smoke which covered us there; 
for it suffered not my eye to stay open : * where- 
fore my sage and trusty Escort drew to my side 
and offered me his shoulder. Even as a blind 
man goes behind his guide, in order not to 
stray, and not to butt against anything that 
may hurt or perhaps kill him, I went along, 
through the bitter and foul air, listening to my 
Leader, who was saying only : " Take care that 
thou be not parted from me." 

I heard voices, and each appeared to be pray- 
ing for peace and for mercy to the Lamb of 
God that taketh sins away. Only " Agnus 

i . v. 7. The gloom and the smoke symbolize the effects 
of anger on the soul. 

vv. 19-44] CANTO XVI 119 

Dei " 2 were their exordiums : one word there 
was in all, and one measure ; so that there 
seemed entire concord among them. " Are 
these spirits, Master, that I hear?" said I. 
And he to me : " Thou apprehendest truly ; 
and they go loosening the knot of anger." 
" Now who art thou that cleavest our smoke, 
and speakest of us even as if thou didst still 
divide the time by calends ? " 3 Thus was it 
spoken by a single voice : whereon my Master 
said : " Reply, and ask if by this way one goes 
up." And I, " O creature, that art cleansing 
thyself, in order to return beautiful unto Him 
who made thee, a marvel shalt thou hear if thou 
accompanyest me." " I will follow thee, for so 
far as is permitted me," it replied, " and if the 
smoke allows not seeing, in its stead hearing 
shall keep us joined." Then I began : " With 
that swathing band which death unbinds 4 I go 
upward, and I came hither through the infer- 
nal anguish ; and since God has so enclosed me 
in His grace that He wills that I should see 
His court by a mode wholly out of modern 
usage, conceal not from me who thou wast be- 
fore thy death, but tell it to me, and tell me if 

2. v. 19. " The Lamb of God." 

3. v. 27. By those in the eternal world time is not 
reckoned by earthly divisions. 

4. v. 38. With my mortal body. 

120 PURGATORY [vv. 45-62 

I am going rightly to the pass ; and let thy 
words be our escorts." " I was a Lombard, 
and was called Marco ; I had knowledge of the 
world, and I loved that virtue, toward which 
every one has now unbent his bow : s for mount- 
ing upward thou art going rightly." Thus he 
replied, and added : " I pray thee that thou pray 
for me when thou shalt be above." And I to 
him : " I pledge thee my faith to do that 
which thou askest of me ; but I am bursting 
inwardly with a doubt, if I free not myself of 
it; at first it was single, and now it is made 
double by thy opinion which makes certain to 
me, here and elsewhere, that with which I 
couple it. 6 The world is indeed as utterly de- 
serted by every virtue as thou declarest to me, 
and is big and covered with iniquity ; but I 
pray that thou point out to me the cause, so 
that I may see it, and that I may show it to 

5. v. 48. No one now aims at virtue. 

6. v. 57. These words may be paraphrased as follows : 
— "I long for the explanation of a question first suggested 
by words heard elsewhere, now renewed by what you have 
said in confirmation of them, whereby I am made certain of 
the fact of which the cause perplexes me." The doubt or 
question was occasioned by Guido del Duca's discourse 
(Canto xiv.), in regard to the prevalence of wickedness in 
Italy. The fact of the iniquity of men was now reaffirmed 
by Marco Lombardo ; Dante accepts the fact as certain, but 
is in doubt as to its cause. 

vv. 63-81] CANTO XVI 121 

others ; for one sets it in the heavens, and one 
here below." 7 

A deep sigh which grief wrung into "Ay 
me ! " he first sent forth, and then he began : 
" Brother, the world is blind, and thou truly 
comest from it. Ye who are living refer every 
cause upward to the heavens only, as though 
they moved all things with them of necessity. 
If this were so, free will would be destroyed in 
you, and there would be no justice in having 
joy for good, and grief for evil. The heavens 
initiate your movements, I do not say all of 
them ; but, supposing that I said it, light for 
good and for evil is given to you, and free will, 
which, though it endure fatigue in the first 
battles with the heavens, afterwards, if it be well 
nurtured, overcomes everything. To a greater 
force, and to a better nature, ye, free, are sub- 
ject, and that creates the mind in you, which 
the heavens have not in their charge. 8 There- 

7. v. 63. One attributes it to the planetary influences, 
and another to the sinfulness of man's nature. 

8. v. 81. The soul of man is the direct creation of God, 
and is in immediate subjection to His power ; it is not under 
control of the heavens, tor its will is free to resist their 
mingled and imperfect influences. Consequently the evil in 
the world is not to be ascribed to the action of the heavens, 
but to the perversity of man, and Marco Lombardo now 
proceeds to show the special cause of the actual evil condi- 
tions which he deplores. 

122 PURGATORY [w. 82-100 

fore if the present world go astray, the cause is 
in you, in you it is to be sought ; and of this I 
will now be a true informant for thee. 

" Forth from the hand of Him who delights 
in it ere it exists, like to a little maid who, weep- 
ing and smiling, wantons childishly, issues the 
simple little soul, which knows nothing, save 
that, proceeding from a glad Maker, it turns 
willingly to that which allures it. At first it 
tastes the savor of trivial good; by this it is 
deceived and runs after it, if guide or bridle 
bend not its love. Hence it was needful to 
impose law as a bridle ; needful to have a 
king who should discern at least the tower of 
the true city. The laws exist, but who set hand 
to them ? Not one : because the shepherd who 
is in advance can chew the cud, but has not his 
hoofs divided : 9 wherefore the people, who see 

9. v. 99. The injunction upon the children of Israel, 
in respect to clean and unclean beasts, contained in the 
eleventh chapter of Leviticus, verses 3-8 : "Whatever part- 
eth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud 
among the beasts, that shall ye eat," but the beasts which 
divide the hoof and chew not the cud " are unclean to you," 
was from an early time interpreted allegorically by the doc- 
tors of the church, but with various understanding. St. 
Augustine, for example (Serm. 149) expounds the cloven 
hoof as typical of right conduct, because it does not easily 
slip, and the chewing of the cud as typical of wisdom, be- 
cause Scripture says : " A treasure to be desired rests in the 

vv. 101-108] CANTO XVI 123 

their guide aim only at that good IO for which 
they are greedy, feed upon that, and seek no 
further. Well canst thou see that the evil 
guidance is the cause which has made the world 
guilty, and not that nature is corrupt in you. 11 
Rome, which made the world good, was wont 
to have two Suns, 12 which made visible both 
one road and the other, that of the world and 

mouth of the wise, but the fool swallows it. (It is. not 
clear what passage in Scripture the saint had in mind.) 

St. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, explains the 
cloven hoof as signifying, among other things, the distin- 
guishing between good and evil, and the sound understand- 
ing of them. And he adds, " Whoso is deficient in either, 
is spiritually unclean." («S. T. ii. 102, 6.) 

By saying that " the shepherd who is in advance can 
chew the cud, but has not his hoofs divided," Marco 
Lombardo seems to intend that, though the Pope may pos- 
sess the true doctrine, yet in his acts he does not discrimi- 
nate between good and evil, seeking temporal power and 
the material goods for which all men are greedy, instead of 
those spiritual gifts which he ought to seek. 

10. v. 101. Goods of this world. 

11. v. 105. It is not to the corruption of human nature 
in general that the guilt of the world is due, but specifically to 
the fault of its rulers. 

12. v. 107. Pope and Emperor, each with a diverse 
function and authority, the one of spiritual, the other of tem- 
poral rule. This was the main principle in Dante's political 
creed, and to set this forth is the object of his treatise on the 
Monarchy. He was not Guclf nor Ghibelline, but both and 
neither. He made a partv by himself. 

124 PURGATORY [vv. 109-124 

that of God. One has extinguished the other ; 
and the sword is joined to the crozier; I3 and 
the two together must perforce go ill, because, 
being joined, one fears not the other. If thou 
believest me not, consider the fruit, I4 for every 
plant is known by its seed. 

" In the land which the Adige and the Po 
water, virtue and courtesy were wont to be 
found before Frederick had his quarrel ; IS now 
it may be securely traversed by anyone who, 
out of shame, would avoid speaking with the 
good, or drawing near them. Three old men 
are indeed still there, in whom the antique age 
rebukes the new, and it seems late to them ere 
God remove them to a better life ; Corrado da 
Palazzo, 16 and the good Gherardo, 17 and Guido 

13. v. no. The symbol of the shepherd's crook. 

14. v. 113. Literally, the spike, the ear of corn; the 
meaning being, consider the results which follow from this 
forced union. 

15. v. 117. Before the Emperor Frederick II. had his 
quarrel with the Pope Gregory the Ninth ; that is, before 
Emperor and Pope had failed in their respective duties to 
each other. 

16. v. 124. Corrado da Palazzo was of Brescia, and in 
his day of high repute for fair living and honorable character. 

17. v. 124. Gherardo da Camino, "who was noble in 
his life, and whose memory will always be noble, " says 
Dante in the Convito, iv. 14, 123. Gherardo was a noble 
soldier of Treviso, and its ruler for many years, till his death 
in 1306. 

vv. 125-139] CANTO XVI 125 

da Castel, who is better named, in fashion of the 
French, the simple Lombard. 18 

" Say thou henceforth, that the Church of 
Rome, through confounding in itself two modes 
of rule, 19 falls in the mire, and defiles itself and 
its burden. " 

" O my Marco," said I, " thou reasonest 
well ; and now I discern why the sons of Levi 
were excluded from the heritage ; 2 ° but what 
Gherardo is that, who, thou sayest, remains for 
sample of the extinct folk, in reproach of this 
barbarous age ? " " Either thy speech deceives 
me, or it is making trial of me," he replied to 
me, " in that, speaking Tuscan to me, it seems 
that thou knowest naught of the good Gherardo. 
By other added name I do not know him, 

18. v. 126. "The French," says Benvenuto da 
Imola, " call all Italians Lombards, and repute them very- 
astute." The Ottimo Com en to relates that Guido da 
Castello, who lived at Reggio, was accustomed to supply 
generously the French men-at-arms, returning poor from 
Italy, with all they needed, horses, arms, or money. 

19. v. 128. The spiritual and the temporal. 

20. v. 1 3 1 . " The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to 
bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the 
Lord to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto 
this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with 
his brethren ; the Lord is his inheritance." Deutero?iomy 
x. 8-9. By this reference Dante points out why the Church 
should be debarred from temporal power and material acqui- 

126 PURGATORY [vv. 140-145 

unless I should take it from his daughter Gaia. 21 
May God be with you ! for farther I come not 
with you. Behold the brightness which rays 
already whitening through the smoke ; and I 
must needs depart — the Angel is there — be- 
fore I become apparent to him." 22 So he turned, 
and would not hear me more. 

21. v. 140. Famed for her virtues, says Buti ; for her 
vices, say the Ottimo and Benvenuto. 

22. v. 144. His time of purgation is not yet finished ; 
not yet is he ready to meet the Angel of the Pass, whose 
effulgence pierces glimmering through the smoke. 


Third Ledge : the Wrathful. — Issue from the Smoke. 
— Vision of instances of punishment of Anger. — Ascent to 
the Fourth Ledge, where Sloth is purged. — Second Night- 
fall in Purgatory. — Firgil explains how Love is the root 
alike of Virtue and of Sin. 

Recall to mind, reader, if ever on the alps 
a cloud closed round thee, through which thou 
couldst not see otherwise than the mole through 
its skin, how, when the humid and dense vapors 
begin to dissipate, the orb of the sun enters 
feebly through them ; and thy imagination will 
be swift in coming to see, how at first I saw 
again the sun, which was already at its setting. 
Thus matching mine to the trusty steps of my 
Master, I issued forth from such a cloud to the 
rays already dead on the low shores. 

O faculty of imagination, that dost sometimes 
so steal us from outward things that a man heeds 
it not, although around him a thousand trum- 
pets are sounding, who moves thee if the sense 
afford thee naught i A light, which is formed 
in the heavens, moves thee by itself, or by a will 
which guides it downward. 1 

i. v. 18. The imagination, if do object of sense excite it, 

128 PURGATORY [vv. 19-36 

In my imagination appeared the vestige of 
the pitilessness of her 2 who changed her form 
into the bird that most delights in singing. And 
here was my mind so shut up within itself that 
from without came nothing which then might be 
received by it. Then there rained down within 
my raised fantasy, one crucified, 3 despiteful and 
fierce in his look, and thus was he dying. 
Around him were the great Ahasuerus, Esther 
his wife, and the just Mordecai, who was so 
blameless in word and deed. And as this 
image burst of itself, in manner of a bubble 
for which the water fails, under which it was 
formed, there rose in my vision a maiden, 4 weep- 
ing bitterly, and she was saying : " O queen, 
wherefore through anger hast thou willed to be 

may be roused by the influence of the stars, or directly by 
the Divine will. 

2. v. 19. This and the two following visions presented 
to Dante's imagination are examples of the punishment of sins 
committed in the passion of anger. Progne or Philomela, ac- 
cording to one or the other version of the tragic myth, was 
changed into the nightingale, after her anger had led her to 
take cruel vengeance on Tereus. 

3. v. 26. Haman, who, according to the English version, 
was hanged, but according to the Vulgate, was crucified. 
Esther vii. 

4. v. 34. Lavinia, whose mother, Amata, the wife of 
King Latinus, hanged herself in a rage at hearing a premature 
report of the death of Turnus, to whom she desired that Lavi- 
nia should be married. Aeneid y xii. 595-607. 

w. 37-67] CANTO XVII 129 

naught ? Thou hast slain thyself in order not 
to lose Lavinia ; now thou hast lost me : I am 
she that grieves, mother, at thy destruction, 
before that of another." 

As sleep is broken, when of a sudden the new 
light strikes the closed eyes, and, broken, quiv- 
ers before it wholly dies, so my imagining fell 
down, soon as a light, greater by far than that 
to which we are accustomed, struck my face. I 
was turning to see where I was, when a voice 
said : " Here is the ascent : " and this withdrew 
me from every other object of attention, and 
made my will so eager to behold who it was 
that was speaking, that it never rests till it is face 
to face. But, as before the sun which weighs 
down our sight, and by excess veils its own 
shape, so here my power failed. " This is a 
divine spirit who directs us, without our asking, 
on the way to go up, and with his own light 
conceals himself. He so deals with us as a man 
does with himself; for he who waits for asking 
and sees the need, malignly sets himself already 
to denial. Now let us accord our feet to such 
an invitation ; let us press forward to ascend 
before it grow dark, for after, it would not be 
possible until the day returns." Thus said my 
Leader ; and I and he turned our steps to a 
stairway ; and, soon as I was on the first step, 
I felt near mc a motion as if of a wing, and a 

i 3 o PURGATORY [vv. 68-92 

fanning on my face, 5 and I heard say : " Beati 
pacific!, 6 who are without evil anger." 

Already were the last sunbeams, on which the 
night follows, so lifted above us, that the stars 
were appearing on many sides. " O my strength, 
why dost thou so melt away ? " I said to myself, 
for I felt the power of my legs put in truce. 
We were now where the stair no farther ascended, 
and we were stayed fast, even as a ship that 
arrives at the shore : and I listened for a while, 
if I might hear anything in the new circle. Then 
I turned to my Master, and said : " My sweet 
Father, say what offence is purged here in the 
circle where we are : if our feet be stopped, let 
not thy discourse be stayed." And he to me : 
"The love of good, defective in its duty, is 
here restored ; 7 here is plied again the ill-slack- 
ened oar. But that thou mayst still more 
clearly understand, turn thy mind to me, and 
thou shalt gather some good fruit from our 

" Neither Creator nor creature," he began, 
" my son, was ever without love, either natural, 

5. v. 68. By which the angel removes the third P from 
Dante's brow. 

6. v. 69. "Blessed are the peacemakers. " 

7. v. 86. It is the round on which the sin of acedia, ac- 
cidie, sloth, — slackness and gloom in matters of the spirit, 
— is purged away. 

vv.93-107] CANTO XVII 131 

or of the mind, 8 and this thou knowest. The 
natural is always without error ; but the other 
may err either through an evil object, or through 
little, or through too much vigor. While love 
is directed on the primal goods, 9 and with due 
measure on the secondary, 10 it cannot be the 
cause of ill delight. But when it is bent to 
evil," or runs to good with more zeal, or 
with less, than it ought, against the Creator his 
own creature is working. Hence thou canst 
comprehend that love is of necessity the seed 
in you of every virtue, and of every action that 
deserves punishment. 

" Now since love can never turn its sight 
from the welfare of its subject, 12 all things are 

8. v. 93. Either native in the soul, or rational, deter- 
mined by the choice, through free will, of some object of 
desire in the mind. The love which is instinctive in the 
nature of man is always good ; but the love determined by 
choice may be evil, either by being set on a wrong object, or 
by seeking a right one too eagerly, or not eagerly enough. 

9. v. 97. The primal goods are God, and future blessed- 
ness ; the secondary are material things. The love of the 
primal is natural or instinctive ; the love of the secondary is 
dependent on the mind, or reason, determining the will. 

10. v. 98. Literallv : <« measures itself on the second- 

11. v. 100. A wrong object of desire. 

12. v. 107. To however wrong an object love may be 
directed, the person moved by love always conceives the object 
of desire to be for his own good. 

132 PURGATORY [w. 108-127 

secure from hatred of themselves ; and since no 
being can be conceived of as divided from the 
First I3 and standing by itself, from hating Him 
every affection is cut off. It follows, if, thus 
distinguishing, I rightly judge, that the evil 
which is loved is that of one's neighbor; and 
in three modes this love has its birth in your 
clay. There is he who hopes to excel through 
the abasement of his neighbor, and only on this 
account longs that from his greatness he may be 
brought low. 14 There is he who fears loss of 
power, favor, honor, and fame, because another 
surmounts ; whereat he is so saddened that he 
loves the contrary. 13 And there is he who seems 
so resentful for injury that he becomes greedy 
of vengeance, and such a one must needs coin 
harm for others. 16 This triform love is wept 
for down below. 17 

" Now I would that thou hear of the other, 
— that which runs to the good in faulty mea- 
sure. Every one confusedly conceives of a 

13. v. no. God, the First Cause, the source of being. 

14. v. 117. This is the nature of pride, which is the 
love of superiority to one's neighbor. 

15. v. 120. The fear of suffering by another's rise is the 
source of envy, which is the love of the ill success of one's 

16. v. 123. Anger is the love of doing harm to one's 
neighbor from whom one has suffered wrong. 

17. v. 124. In the three lower rounds of Purgatory. 

vv. 128-139] CANTO XVII 133 

good l8 in which the mind may be at rest, and 
desires it ; wherefore every one strives to attain 
to it. If the love be slack that draws you to 
look on this, or to acquire it, this cornice, after 
just repentance, torments you for it. Another 
good there is, 19 which does not make man 
happy ; it is not happiness, it is not the good 
essence, the fruit and root of every good. The 
love which abandons itself too much to this 2 ° is 
wept for above us in three circles ; but how it is 
reckoned tripartite, of this I am silent, in order 
that thou seek it out for thyself." 

18. v. 127. The supreme good. 

19. v. 133. Sensual enjoyment. 

20. v. 136. Resulting in the sins of avarice, gluttony, 
and lust. 


Fourth Ledge : The Slothful. — Discourse of Virgil 
on Love and Free Will. — Throng of Spirits running in 
haste to redeem their Sin. — The Abbot of San Zeno. — 
Instances of punishment of Sloth. — Dante falls asleep. 

The lofty Teacher had put an end to his dis- 
course, and was looking attentive on my face to 
see if I appeared content ; and I, whom a fresh 
thirst was already goading, was silent outwardly, 
and was saying within : " Perhaps the too much 
questioning I make annoys him." But that 
true Father, who perceived the timid wish which 
did not disclose itself, by speaking gave me 
boldness to speak. Whereupon I : " Master, 
my sight is so vivified in thy light, that I dis- 
cern clearly all that thy discourse imports or 
describes : therefore I pray thee, sweet Father 
dear, that thou expound to me the love to which 
thou referrest every good deed and its con- 
trary." " Direct," he said, " toward me the keen 
eyes of the understanding, and the error of the 
blind who make themselves leaders will be man- 
ifest to thee. 

vv. 19-30] CANTO XVIII 135 

"The mind, which is created apt to love, is 
mobile unto everything that pleases, so soon as 
by pleasure it is roused to action. Your faculty 
of apprehension draws an image from a real 
existence, and displays it within you, so that it 
makes the mind turn to it ; and if, thus turned, 
the mind incline toward it, that inclination is 
love ; it is nature which is bound anew in you 
by pleasure. 1 Then, as the fire moves upward 
by virtue of its form, which is born to ascend 
thither where it most abides in its own matter, 2 

1. v. 27. In his discourse in the preceding canto, Virgil 
has declared that neither the Creator nor his creatures are ever 
without love : in the creature it is either native in the soul and 
directed to the highest good, or it proceeds from the attraction 
of the mind toward secondary objects. Here he explains how 
the mind is disposed to love, by inclination to an image within 
itself of some object which gives it pleasure. This inclina- 
tion is natural to it ; or in his difficult rhyme-word phrase, 
i* nature is bound anew " in man by the pleasure which arouses 
the love. " Love," says Dante, in the Convito, iii. 2, " taken 
in its true sense, and considered subtly, is nothing else than 
the spiritual union of the soul and of the object beloved, to 
which union the soul, of its own proper nature, runs swiftly 
or slowly, according as it is free or hindered." The doc- 
trine in this canto is derived directly from St. Thomas Aqui- 
nas. "It is the property of every nature to have some incli- 
nation, which is a natural appetite, or love." S. T. I. 
lxxvi. i. "The first act of the will is love, says the School, 
for till the will love, till it would have something, it is not a 
will." Donne, Sermon xxiii. 

2. v. 30. Form is here used in its scholastic meaning. 

136 PURGATORY [w. 31-42 

so the captive mind enters into longing, which 
is a spiritual motion, and never rests until the 
thing beloved makes it rejoice. Now it may be 
apparent to thee, how far the truth is hidden from 
the people who aver that every love is in itself 
a laudable thing, because, perchance, its subject- 
matter always appears to be good ; 3 but not 
every seal is good although the wax be good. " 
" Thy words, and my wit following thenl, ,, 
replied I to him, " have revealed love to me ; 
but that has made me more big with doubt. For 

" The active power of anything depends on its form, which 
is the principle of its action. For the form is either the na- 
ture itself of the thing, as in those which are pure form ; 
or it is a constituent of the nature of the thing, as in those which 
are composed of matter and form. ,, S. T. 3. xiii. i. Fire, 
by virtue of its form, or active principle, seeks to return to 
its source in the elemental sphere of lire, which was sup- 
posed to exist between the sphere of the air and that of the 

3. v. 37. Because the subject-matter, that is the object 
of the love, appears good, this is no proof that it is so in 
reality. An evil object may appear good and may excite 
love. " Evil as evil," says St. Thomas Aquinas, " does 
not move the will, but only as it is esteemed good." S. T. 
Suppl. 98. 1 ; cf. i. 19. 9 ; i. 82. 2 ; ii. 1 27. 1. Dr. 
Franklin, in his excellent little essay " On true Happiness," 
1735, says the same thing in words which afford a per- 
fect comment on this passage : '■« Evil as evil can never be 
chosen ; and though evil is often the effect of our choice, yet 
we never desire it but under the appearance of an imaginary 

vv.43-60] CANTO XVIII 137 

if love be offered to us from without, and if the 
soul go not with other foot, it is not her own 
merit if she go strait or crooked." 4 And he to 
me: " So much as reason sees here can I tell 
thee ; beyond that await still for Beatrice ; for 
it is a work of faith. Every substantial form 
that is distinct from matter, or that is united 
with it, 5 has a specific virtue collected in itself 
which is not perceived unless in operation, nor 
does it show itself save by its effect, as by green 
leaves the life in a plant. Therefore, man does 
not know whence the intelligence of the first 
cognitions comes, nor whence the affection for 
the first objects of desire, which exist in you 
even as zeal in the bee for making honey ; and 
this first will admits not desert of praise or 
blame. 6 Now in order that to this every other 

4. v. 45. If love be aroused in the soul by an external 
object, and if it be natural to the soul to love, how, seeing 
that she has no other course, does she deserve praise or blame 
for loving ? 

5. v. 50. A substance, according to the Schoolmen, is 
ens per se subsist e?is (S. T. i. 3. 5), "a being or thing pos- 
sessing individual existence ;" the substantial form dat esse 
substantiaky (S. T. i. 76. 4) "gives to the substance its 
nature or mode of existence." Thus the soul is the sub- 
stantial form of man (/</.) ; it is distinct from the body but 
united with it. 

6. v. 60. This first will is the natural love of the pri- 
mal goods, which is always without error, of which Virgil has 
spoken in the preceding canto, vv. 91-97. 

138 PURGATORY [vv. 61-78 

may be gathered/ the virtue that counsels 8 is 
innate in you, and ought to hold the threshold 
of assent. This is the principle wherefrom the 
reckoning of desert in you is derived, accord- 
ing as it gathers in and winnows good and evil 
loves. Those who in reasoning went to the 
foundation, took note of this innate liberty, 
wherefore they bequeathed morals 9 to the world. 
If we assume, then, that every love which is 
kindled within you arises of necessity, in you 
exists the power to restrain it. This noble 
faculty Beatrice understands as free will, and 
therefore see that thou have it in mind, if she 
take to speaking of it with thee." IO 

The moon, almost at midnight slow," shaped 
like a bucket i2 that is all ablaze, was making 

7. v. 61. In order that every other will may conform 
with the first, that is, with the natural love for the first objects 
of desire. 

8. v. 62. The innate faculty of reason, "the virtue 
which counsels " and on which the direction of the free will 
depends, is " the specific virtue " (v. 49) of the soul. 

9. v. 68. The rules of that morality which would have 
no existence were it not for freedom of the will. 

10. v. 75. Beatrice discourses of Free Will in the fifth 
canto of Paradise, vv. 1 9—24.. 

11. v. J 6. The hour was toward midnight, and the 
moon, now near two hours up, was to appearance moving 
slowly, and, though past her full, was still so bright as to 
dim the stars. 

12. v. 78. Gibbous, like certain buckets still in use in 

w. 79-98] CANTO XVIII 139 

the stars appear fewer to us, and was running 
counter to the heavens I3 along those paths which 
the sun inflames, when a man at Rome sees it at 
its setting between Sardinia and Corsica ; I4 and 
that noble shade, for whom Pietola I5 is more 
famed than the Mantuan city, had laid down 
the burden of my loading : l6 so that I, who had 
harvested his open and plain discourse upon my 
questions, remained like a man, who, drowsy, 
wanders. But this drowsiness was taken from 
me suddenly by folk, who, behind our backs, 
had now come round to us. And such a fury 
and a throng as Ismenus and Asopus saw of 
old along their banks at night if but the The- 
bans were in need of Bacchus, 17 such curves its 
way along that circle, according to what I saw, 
of those coming on whom good will and right 
love are riding. They were soon upon us ; 
because all that great crowd was moving at a 

13. v. 79. These words describe the daily " backing 
of the moon through the signs from west to east." Moore, 
Time References, p. 104. 

14. v. 81. These islands are invisible from Rome, but 
the line that runs from Rome between them is a little south 
of east. 

15. v. 83. The modern name of Andes, the birthplace 
of Virgil, and therefore more famous than Mantua itself. 

16. v. 84. With which I had laden him. 

17. v. 93. The rivers Ismenus and Asopus ran not far 
from Thebes, the birthplace of Bacchus, who was its tutelary 

140 PURGATORY [vv. 99-120 

run ; and two in front, weeping, were crying 
out: "Mary ran with haste unto the moun- 
tain ; " l8 and : " Caesar, to subdue Ilerda, thrust 
at Marseilles, and then ran on to Spain." I9 
" Swift, swift, that time be not lost by little 
love," the others were crying as they followed, 
" so that zeal in well-doing may make grace 
green again." 2 ° " O people, in whom keen fer- 
vor now perhaps redeems negligence and delay, 
shown by you through lukewarmness in well- 
doing, this one who is alive (and surely I do not 
lie to you) wishes to go up, if but the sun may 
shine again for us ; therefore tell us where is 
the opening near at hand." These words were 
of my Leader ; and one of those spirits said : 
" Come thou behind us, and thou wilt find the 
gap. We are so full of will to move on that we 
cannot stay ; therefore pardon, if thou hold our 
duty for churlishness. I was Abbot 21 of San 
Zeno at Verona, under the empire of the good 
Barbarossa, 22 of whom Milan, still grieving, 

18. v. 100. "And Mary . . . went into the hill coun- 
try with haste." Luke i. 39. 

19. v. 102. Examples of righteous zeal, and, as usual, 
taken one from sacred and one from profane history. 

20. v. 105. That grace which negligence had with- 

21. v. 118. Unknown, save for this mention of him. 

22. v. 119. The epithet "good," applied here to the 
Emperor Frederick I. Barbarossa, belongs to him as the repre- 

vv. 121-135] CANTO XVIII 141 

talks. And one there is who has one foot al- 
ready in the grave, 23 who soon shall lament on 
account of that monastery, and will be sorry for 
having had power over it; because in place of 
its true shepherd he has put his son, ill in his 
whole body and worse in mind, and who was 
evil-born. " I know not if he said more, or if 
he were silent, so far beyond us had he already 
run on ; but this I heard, and to retain it pleased 

And he who was at every need my succor, 
said : " Turn thee this way ; see two of them 
coming, giving a bite to sloth." In rear of all 
they were saying : " The people for whom the 
sea was opened were dead before the Jordan 
beheld his inheritors ; " 24 and : " They who 

sentative in Dante's mind of the Empire, established by- 
God to rule the earth with justice and in peace. It was 
in March, 1 1 6|, that Barbarossa captured and destroyed 

23. v. 121. Alberto della Scala, lord of Verona ; he 
died in 1301. He had forced upon the monastery for its 
abbot his deformed and depraved illegitimate son. It is the 
rule of the Church, based on the injunction of the Lord to 
Moses {Leviticus xxi. 16—23), that no deformed person 
shall be admitted to the priesthood. 

24. v. 135. Numbers xiv. 23-33. " For the children 
of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the 
people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were 
consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord." 
Joshua v. 6. 

142 PURGATORY [vv. 136-145 

endured not the toil even to the end with the 
son of Anchises, offered themselves to a life 
without glory." 2S 

Then when those shades were so far parted 
from us that they could no more be seen, a new 
thought set itself within me, from which many 
others and diverse were born ; and I so ram- 
bled from one to another that, with the wan- 
dering, I closed my eyes, and transmuted my 
meditation into dream. 

25. v. 138. Those of the Trojans who, weary of the 
trials of the long voyage, and fearing the dangers of the way, 
— animos nil magna laudis egentes ; "souls that cared not 
for great praise,", — left Aeneas, to remain with Acestes in 
Sicily. Aeneid, v. 700-778. 


Fourth Ledge : the Slothful. — Dante dreams of the 
Siren. — The Angel of the Pass. — Ascent to the Fifth 
Ledge. — The Avaricious. — Pope Adrian V, 

At the hour when the heat of day, vanquished 
by the Earth or sometimes by Saturn, 1 can 
no longer warm the coldness of the moon, — 
when the geomancers see in the east, before the 
dawn, their Greater Fortune 2 rising along a path 
which short while stays dark for it, — there came 
to me in dream 3 a woman, stammering, with 

1. v. 3. Toward dawn, when the warmth of the pre- 
ceding day is exhausted, and when Saturn may exert its sup- 
posed frigid influence. 

2. v. 4. Geomancy is divination by an arrangement of 
points on the ground, or of pebbles, in certain figures which 

pecial names. One of them, in this form, ' \ • •, was 
called the Greater Fortune; and a figure, more or less resem- 
bling this, U formed by some of the last stars of Aquarius and 
some of the first of Pisces. These arc the signs that imme- 
diately precede Aries, in which the Sun now was, and the 
stars fanning the figure of the Greater Fortune would be in 
the east about two hours I arise. 

}. v. 7. The hour when this dream comes to Dante is 
"post mediam noctem . . . cum sorr.nia rrrv;," — toward 

i 4 4 PURGATORY [vv. 8-27 

eyes asquint, and crooked on her feet, with 
hands lopped off, and pallid in her color. I 
gazed at her ; and as the sun comforts the cold 
limbs which the night benumbs, so did my 
look make her tongue nimble, and then in short 
while set her wholly straight, and so colored 
her wan face as love requires. Then, when 
thus she had her speech unloosed, she began 
to sing, so that with difficulty should I have 
turned my attention from her. " I am," she 
sang, " I am the sweet Siren, who bewitch the 
mariners in mid sea, so full am I of pleasantness 
to hear. I turned Ulysses from his wandering 
way by my song ; 4 and whoso customs himself 
with me seldom departs, so wholly do I satisfy 

Not yet was her mouth closed, when at my 
side a Lady 5 appeared, holy and ready to put 

the morning, in which it was believed that dreams have a true 
meaning (compare Hell, xxvi. 7). The woman seen by- 
Dante is the deceitful Siren, who symbolizes the temptation 
to those sins of sense from which the spirits are purified in 
the three upper rounds of Purgatory. At first the temptation 
is recognized in its true features, then the fancy decks it with 
the allurements of sensual delight, and finally, under the in- 
fluence of Grace, the Reason reveals the essential foulness 
of the sin. 

4. v. 22. There is no classical authority for this claim 
of the Siren. 

5. v. 26. This lady may be the type of the conscience, 

vv. 28-42] CANTO XIX 145 

her to confusion. " O Virgil, O Virgil, who is 
this ? " she sternly said ; and he came with his 
eyes fixed only on that modest one. She took 
hold of the other, and in front she opened her, 
rending her garments, and showed me her belly ; 
this waked me with the stench that issued from 
it. I turned my eyes to the good Master : 
" At least three calls have I given thee," he 
said ; " arise and come on ; let us find the gate 
through which thou mayst enter." 

I rose up, and all the circles of the sacred 
mountain were already full of the high day, and 
we went on with the new sun at our backs. 6 
Following him, I was bearing my forehead like 
one who has it laden with thought, and who 
makes of himself a half arch of a bridge, when I 
heard : " Come ye ! here is the passage," spoken 

virtus intellectualis, that calls reason to rescue the tempted 

6. v. 39. It is full daylight as the poets are about to 
enter on the fifth ledge, where Avarice and Prodigality are 
punished. " Observe here the admirable fitness with which 
Dante times his progress, so that the time spent in the cornice 
where Accidia, or Spiritual Sloth, is punished is exactly coin- 
cident with the hours of night — ' the night when no man 
can work.' He enters it as darkness comes on (as we read 
in xvii. 70-72) and leaves it next morning, as soon as he 
awakes with the nuovo sol (xix. 39), being mildly chided by 
Virgil for the length of his slumbers (xix. 34). . . . In 
each of the other cornices he spends from three to five hours.' * 
Moore, Time References, p. 106. 

146 PURGATORY [vv. 43-61 

in a mode soft and benign, such as is not heard 
in this mortal region. With open wings, which 
seemed as of a swan, he who had thus spoken 
to us turned us upward, between two walls of 
the hard rock. Then he moved his pinions, 
and fanned us, affirming qui lugent 1 to be 
blessed, for they shall have their souls mistresses 
of consolation. 8 

" What ails thee that thou gazest only on 
the ground ? " my Guide began to say to me, 
both of us having mounted up a little from the 
Angel. And I : " With such mistrust a recent 
vision makes me go, which bends me to itself 
so that I cannot withdraw me from the thought 
of it." " Hast thou seen," said he, " that ancient 
sorceress, who above us henceforth is alone 
lamented ? 9 Hast thou seen how from her man 
is unbound ? Let it suffice thee, and strike 
thy heels on the ground ; I0 turn upward thine 

7. v. 50. " They that mourn.' ' 

8. v. 51. The meaning seems to be, "they shall be 
possessed of comfort." Donne (Lat. dominae, i. e. "mis- 
tresses ' ' ) is a rhyme-word, and affords an instance of a 
straining of the meaning compelled by the rhyme. 

9. v. 59. The sorceress who symbolises the pleasures 
of the senses, the lust for which is purged away in the three 
upper rounds of Purgatory which the poets have yet to 

10. v. 61. Hasten thy steps, bending not thy head to 

vv. 62-84] CANTO XIX 147 

eyes to the lure which the eternal King whirls 
with the great circles. " IX 

Even as the falcon that first looks at his feet, 
then turns at the cry, and stretches forward, 
through desire of the food that draws him 
thither ; such I became, and such, so far as the 
rock is cleft to afford a way to him who goes 
up, did I go on to where the circling is begun. I2 
When I had come forth on the fifth round, I 
saw people upon it who were weeping, lying 
on the earth all turned downwards. "Adhaesit 
pavimento anima mea" I3 I heard them saying 
with such deep sighs that the words were hardly 
understood. " O elect of God, whose suffer- 
ings both justice and hope make less hard, di- 
rect us toward the high ascents." " If ye come 
secure from the lying down, and wish to find 
the way most speedily, let your right hands be 
always outermost." H Thus the Poet prayed, 
and thus was answer made to us from a little in 
advance of us ; wherefore I, in his speaking, 
marked the one who was hidden ; ,s and then I 

11. v. 63. Compare xiv. 148—150. 

12. v. 69. The level of the fifth cornice. 

13. v. 73. " My soul cleaveth unto the dust.* ' Psalm 
cxix. 25. 

14. v. 61. That is, keep steadily to the right, so that 
your right hands will be toward the outer edge of the cornice. 

15. v. 84. The face of the speaker, turned to the ground, 
was concealed. 

148 PURGATORY [vv. 85-104 

turned my eyes to my Lord : whereon he granted 
me, with cheerful sign, that which my look of 
desire was asking. 

Then, when I could do with myself accord- 
ing to my pleasure, I drew me above that 
creature, whose words had first made me note 
him, saying : " Spirit, in whom weeping matures 
that l6 without which one can not turn to God, 
suspend a little for me thy greater care. Tell 
me who thou wast ; and why ye have your backs 
turned upward ; and if thou wouldst have me 
obtain aught for thee there whence I alive set 
forth." And he to me : " Why heaven turns 
to itself our backs thou shalt know ; but first, 
scias quod ego fui successor Petri, 17 Between 
Sestri and Chiaveri l8 descends a beautiful 
stream, I9 and of its name the title of my race 
makes its boast. 20 One month and little more 
I proved how the great mantle weighs on him 
who guards it from the mire, so that all the 

16. v. 92. The fruit of repentance in the purgation of 
the soul. 

17. v. 99. " Know that I was a successor of Peter." 
This was the Pope Adrian V., Ottobono de* Fieschi, who 
died in 1276, having been Pope for thirty-eight days. 

18. v. 100. Little towns on the Genoese sea-coast. 

19. v. 1 01. The Lavagna, from which stream the Fies- 
chi derived their title of Counts of Lavagna. 

20. v. 103. Literally, t( makes its summit.' ' The 
forced image seems compelled by the need of the rhyme. 

vv. 108-133] CANTO XIX 149 

other burdens seem a feather. My conversion, 
alas ! was tardy ; but when I became the Roman 
Shepherd, then I discovered how false is life. 
I saw that there the heart was not at rest ; nor 
was it possible to rise higher in that life ; where- 
fore the love of this was kindled in me. Up 
to that time I had been a wretched soul and 
parted from God, wholly avaricious ; now, as 
thou seest, I am punished for it here. That 
which avarice does is displayed here in the pur- 
gation of these converted souls, and the Moun- 
tain has no more bitter penalty. 21 Even as 
our eye, fixed upon earthly things, was not lifted 
on high, so justice here has sunk it to earth. 
As avarice quenched our love for every good, 
whereby our working was lost, so justice here 
holds us close, bound and captive in feet and 
hands; and, so long as it shall be the pleasure 
of the just Lord, so long shall we stay immov- 
able and outstretched." 

I had knelt down and was about to speak ; 
but as I began, and he became aware, only by 
listening, of my reverence : " What cause," 
said he, " has bent thee thus downward ? " 
And I to him : " Because of your dignity my 
conscience stung me for standing." " Straighten 
thy legs, lift thee up, brother," he replied; 

21. v. 117. Others may be greater, but none more 

150 PURGATORY [w. 134-145 

" err not, I am fellow servant of One Power 
with thee and with the rest. 22 If ever thou 
hast understood that holy gospel sound which 
says neque nubent? 1 thou mayst well see why I 
speak thus. Now go thy way ; I wish not that 
thou tarry longer ; for thy stay hinders my 
weeping, with which I mature that which thou 
hast said. 24 A niece I have on earth who is 
named Alagia, 25 good in herself, if only our 
house make her not wicked by example ; and 
she alone remains to me yonder." 26 

22. v. 135. "And I fell at his feet to worship him. 
And he said unto me, See thou do it not : I am thy fellow 
servant." Revelation xix. 10. 

23. v. 137. " They neither marry." Matthew xxii. 
30. The distinctions of earth do not exist in the spiritual 

24. v. 141. " That without which one cannot turn 
to God," v. 92. 

25. v. 142. Alagia was the wife of the Marquis Moroello 
Malaspina. See Canto viii. 118— 132. Dante had probably 
seen her in 1306, when he was a guest of the house, in the 

26. v. 145. Not that she was his only living relative, but 
the only one whose prayers, coming from a good heart, would 
avail him. 


Fifth Ledge : the Avaricious. — The Spirits celebrate 
examples of Poverty and Bounty. — Hugh Capet. — His 
discourse on his descendants. — Trembling of the Moun- 

Against a better will the will fights ill : 
wherefore against my own pleasure, in order to 
please him, I drew from the water the sponge 
not full. 

I moved on ; and my Leader moved on 
through the spaces vacant only alongside of the 
rock, as upon a wall one goes close to the battle- 
ments ; for, on the other side, the folk, who 
through their eyes are pouring out drop by 
drop the evil that possesses all the world, ap- 
proach too near the edge. 1 

Accursed be thou, old she-wolf, that more 
than all the other beasts hast prey, because of 
thy hunger hollow without end ! O Heaven ! by 
whose revolution it seems that some believe 
conditions here below are transmuted, when 

i . v. 9. Too close to the outer edge of the cornice to 
leave a space for walking. 

152 PURGATORY [vv. 15-32 

will he come through whom she shall de- 
part ? 2 

We were going on with slow and scanty steps, 
and I attentive to the shades whom I heard pite- 
ously lamenting and bewailing ; and by chance I 
heard : "Sweet Mary," cried out in front of us 
in the lament, just as a woman does who is in 
travail ; and in continuance : " So poor wast 
thou as may be seen by that inn where thou 
didst lay down thy holy burden." Following 
this I heard : " O good Fabricius, 3 thou didst 
wish rather for virtue with poverty, than to 
possess great riches with vice." These words 
were so pleasing to me that I drew myself far- 
ther on, to have acquaintance with that spirit 
from whom they seemed to come. It was 
speaking now of the largess which Nicholas 4 

2. v. 14. The old she-wolf is avarice, the same who at 
the outset (He//, i. 49-54) had driven Dante back and 
made him lose hope of the height. The He whose coming 
is longed for is the hound who shall chase her back to Hell. 
(Id. i. ioi-iii,) The likeness of the two passages is 

3 . v. 25. Caius Fabricius, the famous poor and incorrupti- 
ble Roman consul, who rejected the bribes of the Samnites, 
b. c. 282. Dante extols his worth also in the Convito, iv. 5. 

4. v. 32. St. Nicholas, Bishop of Mira, who, according 
to the legend, knowing that, because of the poverty of their 
father, three maidens were exposed to the risk of leading lives 
of dishonor, threw secretly, at night, into the window of 
their house, money enough to provide each with a dowry. 

w. 33-53] CANTO XX 153 

made to the damsels in order to lead their 
youth to honor. " O soul that speakest so 
much good," said I, " tell me who thou wast, 
and why thou alone dost renew these worthy 
praises ? Thy words will not be without meed, 
if I return to complete the short journey of that 
life which is flying to its end." And he : "I 
will tell thee, not for comfort that I may ex- 
pect from yonder, 5 but because so great grace 
shines in thee ere thou art dead. I was the 
root of the evil plant which overshadows all 
the Christian land, 6 so that good fruit is seldom 
plucked from it. But if Douai, Lille, Ghent, 
and Bruges had power, there would soon be 
vengeance on it ; 7 and I implore it from him 
who judges all things. Yonder I was called 
Hugh Capet : of me are born the Philips and 
the Louises, by whom of late France has been 
ruled. I was the son of a butcher of Paris. 8 
When the ancient kings had all died out, save 

5. v. 41. The earth. 

6. v. 44. The spirit which is speaking is that of Hugh 
Capet, whose descendants in i 300 were ruling France, Spain, 
and Naples. 

7. v. 47. Philip the Fair gained possession of Flanders, 
by force and fraud, in 1299 ; but in 1302 the French were 
driven out of the country, after the fatal defeat at Courtrai, 
here dimly prophesied. 

8. v. 52. Dante here follows the incorrect popular tradi- 

154 PURGATORY [w. 54-68 

one, betaken to gray vestments, 9 I found the 
bridle of the government of the realm fast in 
my hands, and so much power of new acquest, 
and such fullness of friends, that to the widowed 
crown the head of my son was promoted, from 
whom the consecrated bones 10 of these began. 
" So long as the great dowry of Provence " 
took not shame away from my race, it was little 
worth, but still it did not ill. Then it began 
its rapine with force and with falsehood; and, 
after, for amends, 12 it took Ponthieu and Nor- 
mandy and Gascony ; Charles I3 came to Italy, 
and, for amends, made a victim of Conradin, 14 

9. v. 54. Who had become a monk. The reference 
is obscure, and, indeed, throughout the speech of Capet, 
there is a confusion of personages and events which affords a 
field for the industry of commentators. 

10. v. 60. An ironical reference to the ceremony of 
consecration at the coronation of the kings. 

11. v. 6 1 . This territory came to the royal family of 
France through the marriage in 1246 of Charles of Anjou, 
brother of St. Louis (Louis IX.), with Beatrice, the heir- 
ess of Raymond Berenger IV., Count of Provence. See 
Paradise, vi. 133-135. 

12. v. 65. The bitterness of Dante's irony is explained 
by the evil part which France had played in Italian affairs. 

13. v. 67. Of Anjou. 

14. v. 68. The youthful grandson of Frederick II., 
who, striving to wrest Naples and Sicily, his hereditary pos- 
sessions, from the hands of Charles of Anjou, was defeated 
and taken prisoner by him in 1267, and put to death by him 
in 1268. His fate excited great compassion. 

vv. 69-82] CANTO XX 155 

and then pushed Thomas I5 back to heaven, for 
amends. A time I see, not long after this 
day, which draws another Charles l6 forth from 
France to make both himself and his the better 
known. Unarmed he goes out thence alone, 
but with the lance with which Judas jousted ; I? 
and that he thrusts so that he makes the paunch 
of Florence burst. Thereby he will gain not 
land, 18 but sin and shame so much the heavier 
for himself, as he the lighter reckons such harm. 
The other, 19 who once went forth a prisoner 
from his ship, I see selling his daughter, and bar- 
gaining over her, as do the corsairs with other 
female slaves. O Avarice, what more canst thou 

1 5. v. 69. Charles was believed to have had St. Thomas 
Aquinas poisoned, on his journey from Naples to the Council 
of Lyons, in 1274. 

16. v. 7 1 . Charles of Valois, brother of Philip the Fair, 
sent by Boniface VIII., in 1301, to Florence as peacemaker. 
But there he wrought great harm, and siding with the Black 
party against the Whites, many of the latter, including Dante, 
were driven into exile. 

17. v. 74. The lance of treachery. 

18. v. 76. A reference to his nickname of Senza 
terra, or Lackland. 

19. v. 79. The other Charles, Charles II., son of 
Charles of Anjou. In 1284 he was made captive in a sea 
fight, off Naples, by Ruggieri di Loria, the Admiral of Peter 
III. of Aragon. In 1300, or 1305, according to common 
report, he sold his young daughter in marriage to the old 
Azzo, Marquis of Este. 

156 PURGATORY [vv. 83-96 

do with us, since thou hast so drawn my race 
unto thyself that it cares not for its own flesh ? 
In order that the ill to come and that already 
done may seem the less, I see the Fleur-de-lis 
entering Alagna, and in his Vicar Christ made 
captive. 20 I see him mocked a second time ; I 
see the vinegar and the gall renewed, and, be- 
tween living thieves, 21 Him put to death. I see 
the new Pilate 22 so cruel that this does not sate 
him, but, without decretal, he bears his covetous 
sails into the Temple. 23 O my Lord, when shall 
I be glad in seeing the vengeance which, hidden 
in thy secret, makes thine anger sweet? 

20. v. 87. Notwithstanding Dante's hostility to Boni- 
face VIII., the worst crime of the house of France was, in 
his eyes, the seizure of the Pope at Anagni, in 1303, by 
Guillaume de Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna, the emissaries of 
Philip the Fair. 

21. v. 90. Put to death between living thieves repre- 
sents "to us Boniface as it were crucified between Nogaret 
and Sciarra Colonna, who were standing on either side of 
him, mocking and insulting him, yet still vivi." Moore, 
Textual Criticism , p. 396. Boniface died about a month 
after being made captive. 

22. v. 91. Dante thus terms Philip, because through 
his means Boniface was delivered into the hands of his deadly 

2 3' v * 93* The suppression of the Order of the Temple, 
in 1 3 12 ; "without decretal," that is, without legitimate 
authority, but instigated by covetous desire to get possession 
of the wealth of the order. 

vv. 97-115] CANTO XX 157 

" That which I was saying of that only bride 
of the Holy Spirit, 24 and which made thee turn 
toward me for some gloss, is the response to all 
our prayers 2S so long as the day lasts, but when 
the night comes, we take up instead thereof a con- 
trary sound. Then we rehearse Pygmalion, 26 
whom his gluttonous longing for gold made a 
traitor and a thief and a parricide ; and the misery 
of the avaricious Midas, which followed on his 
greedy demand, at which one needs must always 
laugh. 27 Then of the foolish Achan each be- 
thinks himself, how he stole the spoils, so that 
the anger of Joshua seems still to sting him 
here. 28 Then we accuse Sapphira with her hus- 
band ; 2Q we praise the kicks that Heliodorus re- 
ceived, 30 and in infamy Polymnestor who slew 
Polydorus 3I circles the whole mountain. Finally 

24. v. 98. The Virgin, when Dante first heard him. 

25. v. 100. The words, which like the chanted re- 
sponse, follow all our prayers. 

26. v. 103. The brother of Dido, and the murderer of 
her husband for the sake of his riches. Aeneid, i. 353-54. 

27. v. 108. Midas, the king of Phrygia, whose prayer 
to Bacchus was granted, that everything he touched should 
turn to gold. Ovid, Met. xi. 85-145. 

28. v. ill. Achan stole and hid part of the accursed 
spoils of Jericho. Joshua vii. 

29. v. 112. Acts v. 1- 1 1 . 

30. v. 113. For his attempt to plunder the treasury of 
the Temple. Maccabees iii. 25. 

31. v. 1 1 5. Priam had entrusted Polydorus, his young- 

158 PURGATORY [vv. 1 16-133 

our cry here is : c Crassus, tell us, for thou know- 
est, what is the taste of gold ? ' 32 Sometimes 
one speaks loud, and another low, according to 
the affection which spurs us to speak now at a 
greater, and now at a less pace. Therefore in 
the good which by day is discoursed of here, 
I was not alone just now, but here near by no 
other person was raising his voice. ,, 

We had already departed from him, and 
were striving to master the road so far as was 
permitted to our power, when I felt the moun- 
tain tremble, like a thing that is falling ; where- 
upon a chill seized me, such as is wont to seize 
him who is going to death. Surely Delos was 
not shaken so violently, before Latona made 
her nest therein, to give birth to the two eyes of 
heaven. 33 Then from all sides such a cry began 
est son, to Polymnestor, King of Thrace, who, when the 
fortunes of Troy declined, slew Polydorus, that he might 
take possession of the treasure sent with him. Cf. Hell, 
xxx. 18. 

32. v. 117. Marcus Licinius Crassus, triumvir with 
Caesar and Pompey, b. c. 60 ; famed as the richest and most 
avaricious of men ; having been defeated by the Parthians, 
b. c. 53, he was slain, and their king is reported to have 
poured molten gold down his throat in derision, with the 
words : " Thou hast thirsted for gold, now drink it." 

33. v. 132. Delos was a floating island, tossed upon 
the waves, until Jupiter fixed it that it might serve for the 
birthplace of Apollo and Diana, the divinities of Sun and 
Moon. Ovid, Met. vi. 1 87-191. 

w. 134-151] CANTO XX 159 

that the Master drew towards me, saying : 
" Distrust not, while I guide thee." " Gloria 
in excelsis Deo," 34 all were saying, by what I 
comprehended from near at hand where the 
cry could be understood. We stood, motion- 
less and in suspense, like the shepherds who 
first heard that song, until the trembling ceased, 
and the song was ended. Then we resumed our 
holy journey, looking at the shades that were 
lying on the ground, returned already to their 
wonted plaint. No ignorance ever with so great 
a war made me desirous of knowing 35 — if my 
memory err not in this — as that which I 
seemed then to have in my thought : nor, for 
our haste, did I dare to ask, nor of myself 
could I discern anything there : so I went on 
timid and thoughtful. 

34. v. 136. " Glory to God in the highest. " 

35. v. 146. Dante seems to have had in mind the 
words in the Wisdom of Solomon xiv. 22. " They lived 
in the great war of ignorance," or, according to the Vulgate, 
in magna viventes inscientiae bello* 


Fifth Ledge : the Avaricious, — Statins. — Cause of 
the trembling of the Mountain. — Statins does honor to 

The natural thirst/ which is never satisfied 
save with the water 2 whereof the poor woman 
of Samaria besought the grace, was tormenting 
me, and haste was goading me along the en- 
cumbered way behind my Leader, and I was 
grieving at the just vengeance : and lo ! as 
Luke writes for us that Christ, now risen forth 
from the sepulchral cave, appeared to the two 
who were on the way, a shade appeared to us ; 
and it was coming behind us who were looking 
at the crowd that lay at our feet : nor were 
we aware of it, so it spoke first, saying, " My 
brothers, may God give you peace ! " We 

i . v. I . " According to that buoyant and immortal sen- 
tence with which Aristotle begins his Metaphysics, 'All 
mankind naturally desire knowledge. 9 " Matthew Arnold, 
God and the Bible, ch. iv. This sentence of Aristotle is 
cited by Dante in the first chapter of the Convito. 

2. v. 2. The living water of truth. John'w. 13-15. 

vv. 14-35] CANTO XXI 161 

turned suddenly, and Virgil gave back to it the 
salutation which corresponds thereto ; 3 then he 
began : "In the assembly of the blest, may the 
righteous court, which relegates me into eternal 
exile, place thee in peace." " How," said it, — 
and meanwhile we went on steadily, — " if ye 
are shades that God deigns not on high, who 
has guided you so far along his stairs ? " And 
my Teacher : "If thou regard the marks which 
this one bears, and which the Angel traces, thou 
wilt clearly see that he is to reign with the good. 
But, because she who spins day and night 4 had 
not for him yet drawn the distaff off, which 
Clotho loads for each one and compacts, his 
soul, which is thy sister and mine, coming up- 
wards, could not come alone, because it sees not 
after our fashion. Wherefore I was drawn from 
out the ample throat of Hell to show him, and 
I shall show him so far on as my teaching can 
lead him. But tell us, if thou knowest, why 
just now the mountain gave such shocks, and 
why all seemed to cry with one voice, 5 even 

3. v. 15. To the salutation, " Peace be with you," 
the due answer is, " And with thy spirit." 

4. v. 25. Lachesis, that one of the Fates who spins the 
thread of life from off the distaff, on which Clotho lays and 
compacts the flax. 

5. v. 35. All the spirits seeming to join in the Gloria in 

162 PURGATORY [vv. 36-55 

down to its moist feet." Thus asking he shot 
for me through the needle's eye of my desire, 
so that only with the hope my thirst became 
less craving. 

The shade began : " The sacred rule of the 
mountain can feel nothing which is without due 
order, or which is beyond its wont. This place 
is free from every alteration ; that which from 
itself heaven receives into itself, and naught else, 
can be the cause of this 6 : because neither rain, 
nor hail, nor snow, nor dew, nor frost, falls 
higher up than the little stairway of the three 
short steps ; 7 clouds, thick or thin, appear not ; 
nor lightning, nor the daughter of Thaumas 8 
who yonder often changes her quarter; dry 
vapor does not rise farther up than to the high- 
est of the three steps of which I spoke, whereon 
the vicar of Peter has his feet. It trembles per- 
haps lower down, little or much ; but up here 

6. v. 45. The meaning of these obscure words is ex- 
plained by what the spirit who is speaking goes on to say : 
No earthly influence is felt here, but the cause of the trem- 
bling and the cry is the ascent of a soul from here to Heaven. 
Heaven is said to receive it from itself, because originally the 
soul proceeded from it, issuing from the hand of God, and 
now Heaven receives back again that which properly belongs 
to it. 

7. v. 48. At the gate of Purgatory. 

8. v. 50. The daughter of Thaumas was Iris, the rain- 
bow, seen now to the west, now to the east. 

vv. 56-69] CANTO XXI 163 

it never trembled because of wind that is hidden, 
I know not how, in the earth. 9 It trembles 
here when some soul feels itself pure, so that 
it rises, or moves to ascend; and such a cry 
seconds it. Of the purity the will alone gives 
proof, which surprises the soul wholly free to 
change its company, and rejoices it with willing. 
It wills from the first indeed, but the desire, — 
which, contrary to the will, Divine Justice sets 
to the torment, as it had been to the sin, — 
allows it not. 10 And I who have lain in this woe 
five hundred years and more, only just now 
felt a free volition for a better seat. Because of 

9. v. 57. Aristotle had taught, and it was the common 
belief, that the movement of wind confined within the earth 
was the cause of earthquakes. 

" As when the wind, imprison' d in the ground, 
Struggling for passage, earth's foundation shakes." 

Venus and Adonis, 1046-47. 

10. v. 66. The distinction here made between the will 
and the desire is one familiar to the Schoolmen, under the 
terms of the absolute and the conditioned will. The absolute 
will, the will which is native in the soul for its own ultimate 
salvation, always exists ; but in the exercise of his free will 
man may yield to the temptation of subordinate, and often 
sinful, objects of desire ; and until the soul in Purgatory is 
wholly purified from its sinful disposition, its desire, or con- 
ditioned will, is for the punishment through which its purifica- 
tion is accomplished, as it had originally been for the object of 
its sin. But when the soul becomes pure, then the absolute 
will possesses it to mount to Heaven, and becomes effective. 
See S. T. Suppl. 72. 2. 

i6 4 PURGATORY [vv. 70-90 

this didst thou feel the earthquake, and hear the 
pious spirits upon the Mountain render praise 
to that Lord, who, may He speed them upward 
soon ! " 

Thus he said to us, and since one enjoys 
drinking in proportion as the thirst is great, I 
could not say how much he did me good. And 
the sage Leader : " Now I see the net which 
snares you here, and how it is unmeshed ; and 
why it trembles here ; and for what ye rejoice 
together. Now may it please thee that I may 
know who thou wast, and may it be disclosed to 
me in thy words why for so many centuries thou 
hast lain here ? " " At the time when the. good 
Titus, with the aid of the Most High King, 
avenged the wounds wherefrom issued the blood 
sold by Judas," I was famous enough on earth 
with the name which lasts longest, and honors 
most," replied that spirit, cc but not as yet with 
faith. 12 So sweet was the spirit of my voice, that 
me of Toulouse I3 Rome drew to itself, where 
I earned the right to adorn my temples with 

11. v. 84. Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem in 
a. d. 70. Statius was born between a. d. 60 and 65, and 
probably died about the end of the first century. Virgil died 

B. C. 19. 

12. v. 87. I had the name of Poet, but was not yet a 

13. v. 89. Statius was actually born at Naples. But 
his Silvae, in which he mentions his birthplace, had not been 

vv. 91-112] CANTO XXI 165 

myrtle. Statius the people still name me yon- 
der : I sang of Thebes, and then of the great 
Achilles, but I fell on the way with my second 
load. 14 Seed of my ardor were the sparks that 
warmed me of the divine flame whereby more 
than a thousand have been kindled ; I speak 
of the Aeneid, which was mother to me, and was 
nurse to me in poesy : without it I balanced not 
the weight of a drachm ; and to have lived yon- 
der, when Virgil lived, I would agree to one 
sun more than I owe for my issue from ban." I5 
These words turned Virgil to me with a 
look which, silent, said : " Be silent : " but 
the power that wills cannot do everything ; for 
smiles and tears are such followers on the pas- 
sion from which each springs, that in the most 
truthful they least follow the will. I only 
smiled, like a man who makes a sign ; whereat 
the shade became silent, and looked at me in 
the eyes where the expression is most fixed. 
And it said : " So mayst thou bring to a good 

recovered in Dante's time, and there was a confusion be- 
tween him and a rhetorician of Toulouse who bore the same 

14. v. 93. Statius died before completing his Achilleid. 

15. v. 101. " One sun," that is, one year more in Pur- 
gatory than is due for my punishment. This eulogy of Virgil 
and the Aeneid, is an echo of the words with which Statius 
ends his Thebaid, in which he bids his own poem " follow 
the divine Aeneid at a distance, and ever adore its steps." 

166 PURGATORY [vv. 113-136 

end so great a labor, why did thy face just now 
display to me a flash of a smile ? " Now am 
I caught on one side and the other ; one bids 
me be silent, the other conjures me to speak : 
wherefore I sigh, and am understood by my 
Master, and : " Have no fear to speak," he 
said to me, " but speak, and tell him what he 
asks so earnestly. ,, Whereon I : " Perhaps 
thou marvellest, ancient spirit, at the smile I 
gave ; but I would have more wonder seize thee. 
This one, who guides my eyes on high, is that 
Virgil from whom thou didst derive the strength 
to sing of men and of the gods. If thou didst 
believe other cause for my smile, leave it as not 
being true, and believe it was those words which 
thou saidst of him." Already he was stooping 
to embrace the feet of my Teacher, but he said 
to him : " Brother, do it not, for thou art a 
shade, and thou seest a shade." And he ris- 
ing : " Now canst thou comprehend the sum 
of the love that warms me to thee, when I for- 
get our emptiness, treating the shades as if a 
solid thing." l6 

16. v. 136. Sordello and Virgil (Canto vi. 75) em- 
braced each other. The shades could thus express their 
mutual affection. Perhaps it is out of modesty that Virgil 
here represses Statius, and possibly there may be the under 
meaning that an act of reverence is not becoming from a soul 
redeemed, to one banned in eternal exile. 


Ascent to the Sixth Ledge. — Discourse of Statius and 
Virgil. — Entrance to the Ledge : the Gluttonous, — 
The Mystic Tree. — Examples of Temperance, 

Already was the Angel left behind us, — 
the Angel who had turned us to the sixth 
round, having erased a stroke ' from my face ; 
and he had said to us that those who have their 
desire set on justice are Beati, and his words 
completed this with sitiunt> without the rest. 2 

i. v. 3. The fifth P. 

2. v. 6. That is, the Angel had not recited all the words 
of the Beatitude, which are as follows in the Vulgate : 
Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam : quoniam ipsi satura- 
buntur. He had omitted esuriunt, and said only, «' Blessed 
are they which do thirst after righteousness," contrasting 
this thirst with the thirst for riches. " In order to supply 
the required number of appropriate Beatitudes for the several 
Cornici, this one had to be divided, and a separation intro- 
duced between ' hungering ' and ' thirsting ' after righteous- 
ness. The former is reserved for the sixth Cornice, where 
it affords a natural contrast to the sin of Gluttony, while the 
latter offers an equally natural antithesis in the fifth Cornice 
to the sin of avarice, which is so constantly described as 
a « thirst ' for gold that we are scarcely conscious of the 
metaphor." Moore, Textual Criticism, p. 409. 

168 PURGATORY [vv. 7-34 

And I, more light than through the other 
passes, was so going on, that without any fatigue 
I was following upward the swift spirits, when 
Virgil began : " Love kindled by virtue always 
kindles another, provided that its flame appear 
outwardly ; wherefore from the hour when 
Juvenal descended among us in the limbo of 
Hell, 3 and made known to me thy affection, 
my own good will toward thee has been such 
that more never bound one to an unseen person ; 
so that these stairs will now seem short to me. 
But tell me — and as a friend pardon me, if too 
great confidence let loose my rein, and as a 
friend henceforth talk with me — how could 
avarice find a place within thy breast, amid 
wisdom so great as that wherewith through thy 
diligence thou wast filled ? " 

These words made Statius at first incline a 
little to a smile ; then he replied : " Every word 
of thine is to me a dear token of love. Truly 
often things are apparent which give false ma- 
terial for suspicion, because the true reasons are 
hidden. Thy question assures me that it is thy 
belief, perhaps because of that circle where I was, 
that I was avaricious in the other life ; know 
then that avarice was too far removed from me, 

3. v. 14. Juvenal died before the middle of the second 
century of our era. In a famous passage of his Seventh 
Satire, vv. 81-87, ne speaks of Statius with high praise. 

w. 35-52] CANTO XXII 169 

and this want of measure 4 thousands of courses 
of the moon have punished. And had it not 
been that I set right my care, when I understood 
the passage where thou dost exclaim, as if indig- 
nant with human nature, c O accursed hunger 
of gold, through what 5 dost thou not impel the 
appetite of mortals?' 6 I, rolling, should feel 
the dismal jousts. 7 Then I perceived that the 
hands could spread their wings too much in 
spending ; and I repented as well of that as of 
my other sins. How many shall rise with 
cropped hair 8 through ignorance, which during 
life and in the last hours prevents repentance 
for this sin ! And know, that the fault which 
rebuts any sin with direct opposition, 9 together 
with it dries up its verdure here. Wherefore 
if for my purgation I have been among that 




The extravagance 

of prodigality. 




Through what evij 

1 courses. 




"Quid non mortalia 

pectora cogis 


uri sacra fames ? ' ' 

Aeneid, iii. 56- 


7. v. 42. I should be in Hell among the prodigals roll- 
ing heavy weights, and striking them against those rolled by 
the avaricious. See He//, vii. 25—35. 

8. v. 46. A reference to the symbolic short hair of the 
prodigals. See Hell, vii. 57. 

9. v. 50. The sin of prodigality is the direct opposite 
of avarice, and both are purged on the same ledge of Purga- 
tory, as both are punished in the same circle of Hell. 

170 PURGATORY [vv. 53-73 

people who lament their avarice, by reason of 
its contrary this has befallen me." 

" Now when thou wast singing the cruel strife 
of the twofold affliction of Jocasta," IO said the 
Singer of the Bucolic songs, " it does not appear 
by that which Clio touches with thee there," 
that the Faith, without which good works do 
not suffice, had as yet made thee faithful. If 
this be so, what Sun, or what candles, 12 did 
so disperse thy darkness that thou didst there- 
after set thy sails behind the Fisherman ? " I3 
And he to him, <c Thou first didst direct me on 
the way toward Parnassus to drink in its grots, 
and then, on the way to God, thou didst en- 
lighten me. Thou didst like him, who goes 
by night, and carries the light behind him, and 
profits not himself, but makes the persons fol- 
lowing him wise, when thou saidst, c The world 
is renewed ; Justice returns, and the primeval 
time of man, and a new progeny descends from 
heaven/ I4 Through thee I became a poet, 

10. v. 56. In the eleventh book of his Thebaid, Statius 
recounts the strife and death of Eteocles and Polynices, the 
two sons of Jocasta. See Hell, xxvi. 52-54. 

11. v. 5 8. Statius invokes Clio as her (t in whose power 
are the ages and ancient times ranged in order.' ' Thebaid, 
x. 625. 

12. v. 61. What light from Heaven or from earth. 

13. v. 63. St. Peter. 

14. v. 72. The famous prophecy of the Cumaean Sibyl 

vv. 74-97] CANTO XXII 171 

through thee a Christian. But in order that 
thou mayst better see that which I outline, I 
will stretch my hand to color it. Already was 
the whole world teeming with the true belief, 
sown by the messengers of the eternal realm ; 
and thy words just mentioned were so in har- 
mony with the new preachers, that I adopted 
the practice of visiting them. Then they came 
to seem to me so holy, that, when Domitian per- 
secuted them, their lamentations were not with- 
out my tears. And so long as I remained in 
yonder world, I succored them ; and their up- 
right customs made me scorn all other sects. 
And before I had led the Greeks to the rivers 
of Thebes in my verse, I received baptism ; 
but through fear I was a secret Christian, for a 
long while making show of paganism : and 
this lukewarmness made me circle round the 
fourth circle, 15 longer than to the fourth cen- 
tury. Thou, therefore, that didst lift for me 
the covering that was hiding from me such great 
good as I say, tell me, while we have remain- 
der of ascent, where is our ancient Terence, 

in Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, which was applied, as early as 
the fourth century, to the coming of Christ : — 

M Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. 
Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna : 
Jam nova progenies caelo demittitur alto." 

Ecloga iv. 5-7. 

15. v. 92. Where love too slack is punished. 

172 PURGATORY [vv. 98-114 

Caecilius, Plautus, and Varro, if thou knowest 
it ; tell me if they are damned, and in what re- 
gion ? " " They, and Persius, and I, and many 
others," replied my Leader, " are with that 
Greek whom the Muses suckled more than ever 
any other, in the first girdle of the blind prison. 
Often we discourse of the mountain l6 that has 
our nurses 17 always with itself. Euripides is 
there with us, and Antiphon, Simonides, Aga- 
thon, and many other Greeks who of old 
adorned their brows with laurel. There of thine 
own people are seen Antigone, Deiphile and 
Argia, and Ismene sad as she lived. 18 There 
she is seen who showed Langia ; ig there is the 
daughter ofTiresias and Thetis, 20 and Dei'damia 
with her sisters." 2I 

16. v. 104. Parnassus. 

17. v. 105. The Muses. 

18. v. 1 1 1. Of the people celebrated in thy poems are 
seen the sisters Antigone and Ismene, daughters of Oedipus 
and Jocasta, Ismene sad as she was on earth ; together with 
Deiphile and Argia, also sisters, daughters of Adrastus, King 
of Argos. 

19. v. 1 12. Hypsipyle, who showed the fountain Lan- 
gia to Adrastus and the other kings, when their soldiers were 
perishing with thirst. See Hell, xviii. 92-95, and Purga- 
tory, xxvi. 94-96. 

20. v. 113. Manto is the only daughter of Tiresias who 
is mentioned by Statius ; but Manto is in the eighth circle in 

21. v. 1 1 4. Dei'damia, the daughter of Lycomedes, king 

vv. 115-137] CANTO XXII 173 

Now both the poets became silent, intent 
afresh on looking around, free from the ascent 
and from the walls ; " and four of the handmaids 
of the day were now remaining behind, 23 and 
the fifth was at the pole, 24 directing still upward 
its blazing horn, when my Leader : " I think 
that it behoves us to turn our right shoulders 
to the outer edge, circling the Mount as we are 
wont to do." Thus usage was there our guide, 
and we took the way with less doubt because 
of the assent of that worthy soul. 25 

They were going on in front, and I solitary 
behind, and I was listening to their speech which 
was giving me understanding for poesy. But 
soon the pleasant converse was interrupted by 
a tree which we found in the mid road, with 
apples sweet and good to smell. And as a fir- 
tree tapers upward from branch to branch, so 
downward did that, I think in order that no 
one may go up. On the side upon which our 
way was closed, a limpid water was falling from 

in Scyros, and beloved by Achilles while he was in hiding 
there. See Hell, xxvi. 62. 

22. v. 117. Having reached the ledge where gluttony 
is purged away. 

23. v. 119. The first four hours of the day were spent. 
It was between ten and eleven o' clock. 

24. v. 119. Of the car of the day. 

25. v. 126. Because Statius, who might be supposed to 
be rightly inspired as to the way, assented. 

i 7 4 PURGATORY [w. 138-154 

the high rock and spreading itself over the 
foliage above. The two poets approached the 
tree, and a voice from within the leaves cried : 
" Of this food ye shall have dearth." Then it 
said : " Mary thought more, how the wedding 26 
should be honorable and complete, than of her 
own mouth, 27 which answers now for you ; and 
the ancient Roman women were content with 
water for their drink ; 28 and Daniel despised 
food and gained wisdom. 29 The primal age 
was beautiful as gold ; with hunger it made 
acorns savory, and with thirst every streamlet 
nectar. Honey and locusts were the viands 
which nourished the Baptist in the desert, where- 
fore he is in glory, and so great as by the Gos- 
pel is revealed to you." 3 ° 

At Cana. See Canto xiii. 29. 
Than of gratifying her appetite. 
"According to Valerius Maximus the 
among the Romans did not drink wine." 


See Daniel i. 8—17. 

" Verily I say unto you, Among them that 
are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John 
the Baptist.' ' Matthew xi. 11. See, also, Luke vii. 28. 











1 of 


S. T. 

ii. 2 









Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. — Forese Donati. — 
Nella. — Rebuke of the women of Florence. 

While I was fixing my eyes upon the green 
leafage, just as he who wastes his life following 
the little bird is wont to do, my more than 
Father said to me : " Son, come on now, for 
the time that is assigned to us must be more 
usefully apportioned." I turned my eyes, and 
no less quickly my step after the Sages, who 
were speaking so that they made the going of 
no cost to me ; and lo ! a lament and song were 
heard : " Labia mea, Domine" l in such fashion 
that it gave birth to delight and pain. " O 
sweet Father, what is that which I hear ? " I 
began, and he : " Shades which go, perhaps 
loosing the knot of their debt." 

Even as do pilgrims rapt in thought, who, 

i. v. II. "O Lord, open thou my lips." Psalm li. 
I 5. This Psalm is the so-called Miserere, from its first word 
in the Vulgate ; in the English version " Have mercy upon 
me, O God." The words sung here are appropriate, as 
suggestive of the misuse of the lips in gluttony. 

176 PURGATORY [vv. 17-38 

overtaking on the road unknown folk, turn 
themselves to them, and stay not ; so behind 
us, moving more quickly, coming up and pass- 
ing by, a crowd of souls, silent and devout, 
was gazing at us. Each was dark and hollow 
in the eyes, pallid in the face, and so wasted that 
the skin took its shape from the bones. I do 
not think that Erisichthon 2 was so dried up 
to utter rind by hunger, when he had most fear 
of it. I said to myself in thought : " Behold 
the people who lost Jerusalem, when Mary 
struck her beak into her son." 3 The sockets 
of their eyes seemed rings without gems. 
Whoso in the face of men reads omo, 4 would 
surely there have recognized the m. Who 
would believe that the scent of an apple, and 
that of a water, begetting a longing, could so 
control, if he knew not how ? 

I was still wondering what so famished them, 
the cause of their meagreness and of their 

2. v. 26. Punished for sacrilege by Ceres with insatiable 
hunger, so that at last he turned his teeth upon himself. See 
Ovid, Met am., viii. 738 sqq. 

3. v. 30. The story of this wretched woman is told by 
Josephus in his narrative of the siege of Jerusalem by Titus : 
De Bello Jud. y vi. 3. 

4. v. 32. Finding in each eye an O, and an M in the 
lines of the brows and nose, making the word for "man." 
fS Dante's characters are to be found in skulls as well as faces," 
says Sir Thomas Browne, in his Urn Burial, ch. iii. 

vv. 39-62] CANTO XXIII 177 

wretched scurf 5 not yet being manifest, and lo ! 
from the depth of its head, a shade turned his 
eyes on me, and looked fixedly, then cried out 
loudly : " What grace to me is this ! " Never 
should I have recognized him by his face ; but 
in his voice was manifest to me that which his 
aspect had annulled in itself. 6 This spark re- 
kindled in me all my knowledge of the altered 
visage, and I recognized the face of Forese. 7 

" Ah, strive not 8 with the dry scab that 
discolors my skin," he prayed, " nor with my 
lack of flesh, but tell me the truth about thy- 
self; and who are those two souls, who yonder 
make an escort for thee : stay not thou from 
speaking to me." "Thy face," replied I to 
him, " which once I wept for dead, now gives 
me no less a grief for weeping seeing it so dis- 
figured ; therefore, tell me, for God's sake, what 
so despoils you ; make me not speak while I 
am marvelling, for ill can he speak who is full 
of other wish." And he to me : " By the eter- 
nal counsel a virtue falls into the water and upon 

5. v. 39. The scurf, or scaliness of the skin is one of 
the signs of extreme starvation. 

6. v. 45. His voice revealed who he was, which his 
actual aspect concealed. 

7. v. 48. Brother of the famous Corso Donati, and re- 
lated to Dante's wife, Gemma de' Donati. 

8. v. 51. Do not, for striving to see me through my 
changed look, delay to speak. 

178 PURGATORY [vv. 63-85 

the plant, now left behind, whereby I grow so 
lean. All this folk who sing weeping, because 
of following their appetite beyond measure, 
are here in hunger and in thirst making them- 
selves holy again. The odor which issues 
from the fruit and from the spray which is 
spread over the verdure, kindles in us desire to 
eat and drink. And not once only, as we circle 
this floor, is our pain renewed ; I say pain, and 
ought to say solace, for that will leads us to the 
tree, which led Christ with joy to say: 'Eli,' 9 
when with his blood he delivered us." And I 
to him : " Forese, from that day on which thou 
didst change world to a better life, up to this 
time, five years have not rolled round. If the 
power of sinning further had ended in thee, 
before the hour supervened of the good sorrow 
which re-weds us to God, how hast thou come 
up hither ? I thought to find thee still down 
there below, where time is made good by 
time." IO Whereon he to me : " My Nella with 
her bursting tears has brought me thus speedily 

9. v. 74. Rejoicing to accept his suffering, even when 
he exclaimed : ' ' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me?" Matthew xxvii. 46. 

10. v. 82. If thou didst delay repentance until thou 
couldst sin no more, how is it that thou hast arrived here 
so speedily without spending, outside the gate of Purgatory, 
a time equal to that spent on earth. See Canto iv. 130- 

w. 86-114] CANTO XXIII 179 

to drink of the sweet wormwood of these tor- 
ments. With her devout prayers and with sighs 
has she drawn me from the hill-side where one 
waits, and has delivered me from the other cir- 
cles. So much the more dear and more precious 
to God is my poor widow, whom I loved so well, 
as she is the more solitary in good conduct ; for 
the Barbagia TI of Sardinia is far more modest 
in its women than the Barbagia where I left her. 
O sweet brother, what wouldst thou that I say ? 
A future time is already in my sight, to which 
this hour will not be very old, when from the 
pulpit it shall be interdicted to the brazen-faced 
dames of Florence to go about displaying the 
bosom with the paps. What barbarian, what 
Saracen women were there ever for whom either 
spiritual or other discipline was needed to make 
them go covered ? But if the shameless ones 
were assured of that which the swift heaven is 
preparing for them, already would they have 
their mouths open for howling. For if my 
foresight here does not deceive me, they will 
be sad before he who is now consoled with the 
lullaby shall have bearded cheeks. Ah brother, 
now no longer conceal thyself from me ; thou 
seest that not only I, but all these people are 
gazing there where thou dost veil the sun." 

11. v. 94. A mountainous district in Sardinia, inhabited 
by people of barbarous customs. 

180 PURGATORY [vv. 115-133 

Whereon I to him : " If thou bring back to 
mind what thou wast with me, and what I was 
with thee, the present remembrance will even 
now be grievous. From that life he who goes 
in front of me turned me the other day, when 
the sister of him," I2 and I pointed to the 
sun, " there showed herself round. Through 
the deep night, from the truly dead, he has 
led me, with this real flesh which follows him. 
Thence his encouragements have drawn me 
upward, ascending and circling the mountain 
that sets you straight whom the world made 
crooked. He says that he will bear me company 
so long till I shall be there where Beatrice will 
be ; there it behoves that I remain without him. 
Virgil is this one who says thus to me," and I 
pointed to him, " and this other is that shade for 
whom just now your realm, which from itself 
releases him, shook every slope." 

12. v. 120. The Moon, Diana, twin child of Leda, 
with Apollo, the Sun. 


Sixth Ledge : the Gluttonous. — Forese Donati. — - 
Piccarda Donati. — Bonagiunta of Lucca. — Pope Mar- 
tin IV. — Ubaldin dalla Pi/a. — Bonifazio. — Messer 
Marchese. — Prophecy of Bonagiunta concerning Gentucca, 
and of Forese concerning Corso de* Donati. — Second 
Mystic Tree. — The Angel of the Pass. 

Speech made not the going, nor did the 
going make that more slow ; but, talking, we 
went on apace, even as a ship urged by a good 
wind. And the shades, that seemed things 
doubly dead, through the pits of their eyes drew 
in wonder at me, perceiving that I was alive. 

And I, continuing my talk, said : " He ■ goes 
up for the sake of another perchance more 
slowly than he would do. But, tell me, if thou 
knowest, where is Piccarda ; 2 tell me if I see any 
person to be noted among this folk that so gazes 
at me." " My sister, who, between fair and good, 

i. v. 8. Statius ; more slowly, for the sake of remain- 
ing with Virgil. 

2. v. 10. The sister of Forese, whom Dante meets in 
Paradise, Canto iii. 

182 PURGATORY [vv. 14-30 

was I know not which the most, triumphs al- 
ready rejoicing in her crown on high Olympus." 
So he said first, and then : " Here it is not for- 
bidden to name each one, since our semblance 
is so milked away by the diet. 3 This," and he 
pointed with his finger, " is Bonagiunta, 4 Bona- 
giunta of Lucca ; and that face beyond him, 
more pricked through than the others, had the 
Holy Church in his arms : s he was from Tours ; 
and by fasting he purges the eels of Bolsena, and 
the Vernaccia wine." Many others he named to 
me, one by one, and at their naming all appeared 
content; so that for this I saw not one dark 
mien. I saw, using their teeth through hunger 
on emptiness, Ubaldin dalla Pila, 6 and Boni- 
face, 7 who shepherded many people with his 

3. v. 1 8. Recognition by the looks was thus impossible. 

4. v. 19. Bonagiunta Urbiciani, a poet of Lucca who 
lived and wrote in the last half of the thirteenth century. In 
the De Vulgari Eloquio, i. 13, Dante speaks of him as one 
of the Tuscan poets who used the local dialect and not the 
courtly and illustrious tongue of Italy in their rhymes. 

5. v. 22. " Had the Church in his arms," that is, was 
Pope. It is Martin IV., native of Tours, Pope from 1281 
to 1 284 ; as Frenchman he used the Papal power to promote 
the interests in Sicily and Italy of Charles of Anjou. He is 
said to have died from a surfeit at Orvieto. 

6. v. 29. Of this Ubaldino little is known with cer- 

7. v. 29. Bonifazio de' Fieschi, Archbishop of Ravenna 
from 1274 to 1294. 

vv. 31-49] CANTO XXIV 183 

crook. I saw Messer Marchese, 8 who once 
had leisure for drinking at Forli with less thirst, 
and even so was such that he felt not sated. 

But as one does who looks, and then makes 
more account of one than of another, so did I 
of him of Lucca, who seemed most to wish ac- 
quaintance with me. He was murmuring, and 
I heard something like " Gentucca " from there 9 
where he felt the chastisement of the justice 
which so strips them. " O soul," said I, " who 
seemest so desirous to speak with me, do so that 
I can understand thee, and satisfy both thyself 
and me by thy speech." " A woman is born, 
and wears not yet the veil," IO he began, " who 
will make my city pleasant to thee, however 
men may blame it. " Thou shalt go on with 
this prevision : if from my murmuring thou hast 
conceived error, the true things will hereafter 
clear it up for thee. But tell me, if I here see 

8. v. 3 1 . A man of note in his day, of one of the chief 
families of Forli. 

9. v. 38. Literally, "and I know not what Gentucca 
I heard," that is, "from his mouth I heard an indistinct 
murmur in which I seemed to catch the name Gentucca." 

10. v. 43. The veil of a married woman. 

11. v. 45. This honorable and delightful reference to 
the otherwise unknown maiden, Gentucca of Lucca, has 
given occasion to much worthless comment. Dante was at 
Lucca, during his exile, in 13 14. He himself was one of 
those who blamed the city ; sec He//, Canto xxi. 40—42. 

1 84 PURGATORY [v v. 50-69 

him, who drew forth the new rhymes, begin- 
ning : c Ladies who have intelligence of Love ' ? " I2 
And I to him : " I am one who, when Love 
inspires me, notes, and in that mode which he 
dictates within, I go uttering." " O brother, 
now I see," said he, cc the knot which held back 
the Notary, 13 and Guittone, I4 and me short of 
the sweet new style which I hear. I see clearly 
how your pens go on close following the dicta- 
tor, which surely was not the case with ours. 
And he who most sets himself to look farther 
sees nothing more between one style and the 
other." I5 And, as if contented, he was silent. 
As the birds that winter along the Nile some- 
times make a troop in the air, then fly in greater 
haste, and go in file, so all the folk that were 
there, light both through leanness and through 

12. v. 51. The first verse of the first canzone of The 
New Life. 

13. v. 56. The Sicilian poet, Jacopo da Lentino. 

14. v. 56. Guittone d* Arezzo, commonly called Fra 
Guittone, as one of the order of the Frati Gaudenti, mentioned 
in Hell, xxiii. 103. Dante refers to him again in Canto 
xxvi. 124. He died probably in 1293. 

15. v. 62. He who seeks for other reason does not find 
it. — The poems of Bonagiunta, of the Notary, and of Guit- 
tone, which have come down to us, justify this criticism. 
Dante alone had learned the lesson which the Muse taught 
Sidney, »* ' Fool/ said my Muse to me, 'look in thy heart 
and write.' " 

vv. 70-90] CANTO XXIV 185 

will, turning away their faces, quickened again 
their pace. And as the man who is weary of 
running lets his companions go on, and then 
walks, until the panting of his chest be abated, 
so Forese let the holy flock pass on and came 
along behind with me, saying : " When shall it 
be that I see thee again ? " "I know not," I 
replied to him, " how long I may live ; but 
truly my return will not be so speedy, that I 
shall not in desire be sooner at the shore ; l6 be- 
cause the place where I was set to live, strips 
itself more of good from day to day, and seems 
ordained to dismal ruin." " Now go," said he, 
" for I see him who is most to blame for this I? 
dragged at the tail of a beast, toward the val- 
ley l8 where never is there exculpation. The 
beast at every step goes faster, with ever increas- 
ing speed, till it strikes him, and leaves his body 
vilely undone. Those wheels have not far to 
turn," and he raised his eyes to heaven, " ere 
that will be clear to thee which my speech may 

16. v. 78. Of Purgatory. 

17. v. 82. Corso de' Donati, the leader of the Black 
Guelphs, and chief cause of the evils of the city. On the 
15th September, 1308, his enemies having risen against 
him, he was compelled to fly from Florence. Near the city 
he was thrown from his horse and dragged along, till he was 
overtaken and killed by his pursuers. 

18. v. 84. « The woful valley of the abyss." Hell, 
iv. 8. 

186 PURGATORY [vv. 91-110 

not further declare. Now do thou stay behind, 
for time is so precious in this kingdom, that I 
lose too much coming thus at even pace with 

As a cavalier sometimes sets forth at a gal- 
lop from a troop which is riding, and goes to 
win the honor of the first encounter, 19 so with 
longer strides did he depart from us ; and I 
remained on the way with only those two who 
were such great marshals of the world. 20 And 
when he had passed on so far before us that my 
eyes became such followers of him as my mind 
was of his words, 2I there appeared to me the 
laden and living branches of another apple-tree, 
and not far distant, because only then had I 
turned thitherward. 22 I saw people beneath it 
raising their hands and crying, I know not what, 
toward the leaves, like eager and fond little 
children who pray, and he to whom they pray 
does not answer, but, to make their longing the 

19. v. 96. This essay of honor was not infrequent with 
the young cavaliers, desirous to win their spurs. 

20. v. 99. "A marshal is a governor of the court and 
of the army under the emperor, ... and should know how 
to command what ought to be done, as those two poets knew 
what it was befitting to do in the world in respect to moral 
and civil life.*' Buti. 

21. v. 102. Could no longer follow him distinctly. 

22. v. 105. In the circling course around the moun- 

vv. 111-126] CANTO XXIV 187 

more keen, holds aloft their desire, and conceals 
it not. Then they departed as if undeceived : 23 
and upon this we came to the great tree which 
rejects so many prayers and tears. " Pass ye 
farther onward, without drawing near ; the tree 24 
which was eaten of by Eve is higher up, and 
this plant was raised from it." Thus said I 
know not who among the branches ; wherefore 
Virgil and Statius and I, drawing close together, 
proceeded onward along the side that rises. 25 
" Bethink ye," the voice was saying, " of the 
accursed ones, 26 formed in the clouds, who, 
when glutted, strove against Theseus with their 
double breasts ; and of the Hebrews, who, 
at the drinking, showed themselves weak, 27 
wherefore Gideon had them not for compan- 
ions, when he went down the hills toward 

23. v. 112. Having found vain the hope of reaching the 

24. v. 116. The tree of knowledge, in the Earthly 
Paradise : Canto xxxii. 38 ff. 

25. v. 120" Along the inner side, by the wall of the 

26. v. 121. The centaurs, who were said to have been 
born of Ixion and a phantom cloud, and who fought with 
Theseus at the marriage feast of Peirithous. 

27. v. 124. Literally : «« Showed themselves soft," that 
is, did not resist the impulse to drink too eagerly. Judges 
vii. 4-7. 

188 PURGATORY [vv. 127-152 

Thus keeping close to that one of the two mar- 
gins, 28 we passed by, hearing of sins of gluttony- 
followed, indeed, by miserable gains. Then 
going at large along the lonely road, full a 
thousand steps and more had carried us on- 
ward, each of us in meditation without a word. 
" Why go ye thus in thought, ye three alone ? " 
said a sudden voice ; whereat I started, as do 
terrified and timid beasts. I lifted up my head 
to see who it might be, and never were glass or 
metals in a furnace seen so shining and ruddy, 
as one I saw who said : " If it please you to 
mount upward, here there is need to turn ; this 
way he goes who would go for peace." His 
aspect had taken my sight from me, wherefore I 
turned to go behind my teachers, like one who 
goes according as he hears. 29 

And as the breeze of May, a herald of the 
dawn, stirs and smells sweet, all impregnate with 
the herbage and with the flowers, such a wind 
I felt strike upon the middle of my forehead, 
and I clearly felt the motion of the plumage, 
which made me perceive the odor of ambrosia. 
And I heard say : " Blessed are they whom so 
much grace illumines, that the love of taste 

28. v. 127. The inner margin of the ledge. 

29. v. 144. Blinded for the moment by the dazzling 
brightness of the angel, Dante drops behind his teachers to 
follow them as one guided by hearing only. 

w. 153, 154] CANTO XXIV 189 

kindles not too great desire in their breasts, 
hungering always so much as is right." 3 ° 

30. v. 1 54. " Blessed are they which do hunger and 
thirst after righteousness." Matthew v. 6. 

Dante has already cited this Beatitude (Canto xxii. 5— 
6), applying it to those who are purging themselves from the 
inordinate desire for riches ; there omitting the word " hun- 
ger,' ' as here he omits "and thirst." 


Ascent to the Seventh Ledge, — Discourse of Statins on 
generation, the infusion of the Soul into the body, and 
the corporeal semblance of Souls after death. — The 
Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — The mode of their Puri- 

It was the hour in which the ascent allowed 
no delay ; for the Sun had left the meridian circle 
to the Bull, and the Night to the Scorpion ; x 
wherefore as does the man who, whatever may 
appear to him, does not stop, if the goad of ne- 
cessity prick him, but goes on his way, so did 
we enter through the gap, one before the other, 
taking the stairway which by its narrowness un- 
pairs the climbers. 

And as the little stork that lifts its wing 
through will to fly, and dares not abandon the 

i . v. 3 . The Bull follows on the Ram in the Zodiac, 
so that the hour indicated is about 2 p. m. The " Night, 
here and elsewhere, when spoken of generally as being in any 
spot, naturally stands for midnight as its central point.' ' 
Moore, Time- References, p. 70. When the Sun is in the 
Sign of the Ram, the Night is in that of the Scales, which 
precedes that of the Scorpion. 

vv. 12-34] CANTO XXV 191 

nest, and lets it drop, so was I, with will to ask 
kindled and quenched, coming as far as to the 
motion that he makes who proposes to speak. 
Nor, though our going was swift, did my sweet 
Father forbear, but he said : " Discharge the 
bow of speech which up to the iron 2 thou hast 
drawn." Then I opened my mouth confidently, 
and began : " How can one become lean, where 
the need of nourishment is not felt ? " " If 
thou wouldst call to mind," he said, " how 
Meleager was consumed by the consuming of 
a brand, this would not be so difficult to thee ; 
and if thou wouldst think, how at your quiver- 
ing your image quivers within the mirror, that 
which seems hard would seem easy to thee. 
But in order that thou mayst be inwardly at 
ease in respect to thy wish, lo, here is Statius, 
and I call on him, and pray that he be now the 
healer of thy wounds." " If I explain to him 
the eternal view," 3 replied Statius, " where thou 
art present, let it excuse me that to thee I can- 
not make denial." 4 

Then he began, " If, son, thy mind regards 

2. v. 18. Up to the arrow-head. 

3. v. 31. What is seen here in the eternal world con- 
cerning the nature of the soul. 

4. v. 33. Here and elsewhere Statius seems to represent 
allegorically human philosophy enlightened by Christian teach- 
ing dealing with questions of knowledge, not of faith. 

i 9 2 PURGATORY [vv. 35-50 

and receives my words, they will be for thee a 
light unto the c How/ which thou askest. 5 Per- 
fect blood, which is never drunk up by the 
thirsty veins, but remains like the food which 
thou removest from the table, takes in the heart 
a virtue informative of all the human members, 
as being that which goes through the veins to be- 
come them. 6 Digested still further, it descends 
to the part whereof it is more becoming to be 
silent than to speak ; and from there, afterwards, 
it drops upon another's blood in the natural 
vessel. There one and the other meet together ; 
the one ordained to be passive, and the other 7 
to be active because of the perfect place 8 where- 
from it is pressed out; and, conjoined with the 
former, the latter begins to operate, first by 
coagulating, and then it quickens that to which 

5. v. 36. The doctrine set forth by Statius in regard 
to generation is derived from St. Thomas Aquinas, S. T., 
i. 118, 119, who, in his turn, drew much of it from Aris- 
totle. It is to be found, more briefly stated, in the Convito, 
iv. 21. 

6. v. 42 . The perfect blood, which constitutes the semen, 
remains over and above that blood which is requisite for the 
nourishment of the body, and acquires in the heart the virtue 
by which, after it has been still further digested, it finally 
gives form to the various bodily organs. 

7. v. 47. The one is the female blood, the other the 
male blood. 

8. v. 48. The heart. 

vv.51-61] CANTO XXV 193 

it gives consistency for its own material. 9 The 
active virtue having become a soul, like that of 
a plant IO (in so far different that this is on the 
way, and that already arrived), 11 then so works, 
that now it moves and feels, as a sea-fungus 
does ; " and then it proceeds to organize the 
powers of which it is the germ. I3 Now, son, the 
virtue is displayed, now it is diffused, which 
issues from the heart of the begetter, where na- 
ture is intent on all the members. But how 
from an animal it becomes a rational being, M 

9. v. 5 1 . It quickens to life the material to be shaped 
by the informative virtue into a human body. 

10. v. 53. The doctrine of S. Thomas Aquinas, which 
Dante here follows, is that of the three natures of souls, the 
vegetative or nutritive, the sensitive, and the intellective ; the 
first two are not created directly by God, but proceed from 
the active virtue of the begetter of the body in which they 
exist. They are corruptible. But the anima intellectiva, pro- 
ceeding directly from God, is breathed into the human embryo, 
is incorruptible, and includes in itself the faculties of the lower 
corruptible souls of beasts and plants. 

11. v. 54. The soul in the plant has attained its full 
development, "has arrived ; " while in the human embryo 
this vegetative soul is "on the way," is but a stage in the 
development of being. 

12. v. 56. From the vegetative, the soul becomes the 
sensitive, — anima sensitiva. 

13. v. 57. That virtue which the blood acquired in the 
heart of the begetter now begins to show itself in the forma- 
tion of the limbs and organs of the body. 

14. v. 61. Literally, " a speaking being." Thou dost 

194 PURGATORY [vv. 62-69 

thou as yet seest not ; this is such a point that 
once it made one wiser than thou to err, so that 
in his teaching he separated from the soul the 
potential intellect, because he saw no organ as- 
sumed by it. I5 Open thy breast to the truth 
which is coming, and know that, so soon as the 
articulation of the brain is perfect in the embryo, 

not yet see, how from a mere animal, with a soul dependent 
on its material existence, it becomes a speaking, that is a 
rational being, possessed of an anima intellectiva, an intellec- 
tual and immortal soul. 

15. v. 66. The " one wiser than thou" who fell into 
error, is generally understood to refer to Averroes, whose 
error was in his exposition of Aristotle's doctrine as set forth 
in the third book of his treatise On the Soul. Aristotle there 
distinguishes two intellectual principles, in other words two 
intellects, the one material or passive, the other formal or 
active. The passive, the so-called possible intellect, was 
adapted to receive passively impressions or images ; the active 
intellect rendered these images intelligible, and formed ideas. 
The active intellect is separate, impassible, imperishable ; the 
passive intellect is perishable, and cannot dispense with the 
active intellect. " Now the true intellect is the separate in- 
tellect, and that alone is eternal and immortal." This doc- 
trine led Averroes to the conclusion that the active intellect 
was undivided and impersonal, and united not formally but 
instrumentally only with the individual. Hence it was but 
a step to the denial of the immortality of the individual soul. 
Dante seems to have fallen into the error of believing that 
Averroes separated the potential or possible intellect from the 
soul, whereas it was really to the active intellect that he 
ascribed unity and separateness. 

vv. 70-84] CANTO XXV 195 

the Primal Motor l6 turns to it with joy over 
such art of nature, and breathes into it a new 
spirit replete with virtue, which draws into its 
own substance that which it finds active there/ 7 
and becomes one single soul which lives and 
feels and circles on itself. And that thou mayst 
the less wonder at my words, consider the 
warmth of the sun which, combining with the 
juice that flows from the vine, becomes wine. l8 
And when Lachesis has no more thread, this 
soul is loosed from the flesh, and virtually bears 
away with itself both the human and the di- 
vine ; ' 9 the other faculties all of them mute, 20 
but memory, understanding, and will 2I far more 
acute in action than before. Without a stop, 

16. v. 70. The Primal Motor, that is, God. 

17. v. 73. The vegetative and the sensitive soul. 

18. v. 78. The fact that the spirit breathed into the 
foetus, in other words the intellectual soul, absorbs the sensi- 
tive and vegetative souls, or, in the words of St. Thomas 
Aquinas, S. T. i. 76. 4, «' contains in its own virtue what- 
ever the sensitive soul of brutes and the nutritive soul of plants 
possess," — this fact is illustrated, imperfectly indeed, by the 
action of the Sun upon the juice of the grape, converting the 
raw juice into wine. 

19. v. 8 1 . The human, that is, the bodily faculties; 
the divine, that is, the intellectual or spiritual faculties. 

20. v. 82. The faculties of sense mute because their 
organs no longer exist. 

21. v. 83. The spiritual faculties, independent of the 

196 PURGATORY [vv. 85-109 

it falls of itself, marvellously, to one of the 
banks. 22 Here it first knows its own roads. 
Soon as the place there 23 circumscribes it, the 
formative virtue rays out around it, in like 
shape and size, as in the living members. 
And as the air when it is full of rain becomes 
adorned with divers colors^ by reason of the rays 
of another 24 which are reflected in it, so here the 
neighboring air shapes itself in that form which 
the soul that has stopped 2S virtually imprints 
upon it. And then like the flamelet which fol- 
lows the fire whithersoever it shifts, so does its 
new form follow the spirit. Since thereafter it 
has its aspect from this, it is called a shade ; and 
thence it organizes every sense even to the 
sight; thence we speak, and thence we laugh, 
thence we make the tears and the sighs, which 
thou mayst have heard on the mountain. Ac- 
cording as our desires and our other affections 
impress us, the shade is shaped ; and this is 
the cause of that at which thou wonderest." 26 
And now we had come to the last circuit, 

22. v. 86. Of Acheron (see Hell,m. 78), or of Tiber 
(see Purgatory, ii. 100-105), according as the soul is 
damned or saved. 

23. v. 88. Whether Purgatory or Hell. 

24. v. 92. «' Another," that is, the Sun. 

25. v. 96. Stopped in the place allotted to it. 

26. v. 108. The emaciation of the spirits on this ledge. 

vv. 110-130] CANTO XXV 197 

and had turned to the right hand, and were in- 
tent upon another care. Here the bank shoots 
forth flame, and the ledge breathes a blast up- 
ward which drives it back, and sequesters a path 
from it. 27 Wherefore it was needful to go one 
by one along the open side ; and on the one 
hand I was afraid of the fire, and on the other 
I was afraid of falling off. My Leader said, 
" Along this place, one must keep tight the 
rein upon the eyes, because for little one might 
go astray." " Summae Deus clementiae" 28 I then 
heard being sung, in the bosom of the great 
burning, which made me care not less to turn. 29 
And I saw spirits going through the flame ; 
wherefore I looked at them and at my own 
steps, apportioning to each my sight from mo- 
ment to moment. After the end that is made 
to that hymn, they loudly cried : " Virum non 
cognosco ; " 3 ° then began again the hymn with 
low voice ; this finished, they cried anew : " To 
the wood Diana kept herself, and drove there- 

i~ . v. 114. Secures a safe pathway along the outer edge 
of the ledge. 

28. v. 121, "God of clemency supreme," the begin- 
ning of a hymn, sung at Matins on Saturday, containing a 
BT for pur. 

i'). \. [23, firing not less to sec who was singing, than 
to keep hi d on the narrow way. 

30. v. 128. " I know not a man," the words of Mary 
to the angel. Lttki i. 34. 

198 PURGATORY [vv. 131-139 

from Helice, 31 who had tasted the poison of 
Venus." Then they returned to their singing ; 
then they cried aloud wives and husbands who 
were chaste, as virtue and marriage enjoin upon 
us. And I believe this mode suffices them for 
all the time that the fire burns them. With 
such cure it is needful, and with such diet, that 
the last wound of all 32 should be closed up. 

31. v. 1 3 1 . Helice, or Callisto, the nymph who bore 
a son to Jupiter, and, having been changed to a bear by Juno, 
was by Jove transferred with her child to the heavens, where 
they are seen as the Great and Little Bear. 

32. v. 139. The last of the mortal sins, the last P. 


Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — Sinners in the fire, 
going in opposite directions. — Guido Guinicelli. — Ar- 
naut Daniel. 

While we were thus going on along the 
edge, one before the other, the good Master 
was often saying : " Take heed ! let it avail that 
I warn thee." The sun, which now, with his 
radiance, was changing all the west from azure 
to a white aspect, was striking me on the right 
shoulder ; and with my shadow I was making 
the flame appear more ruddy, and only to that 
indication x I saw many shades, as they went 
on, giving heed. This was the occasion which 
gave them a beginning to speak of me, and 
they began to say : " He does not seem a ficti- 
tious body ; " then certain of them came toward 
me, so far as they could do so, always with re- 
gard not to come out where they would not be 

" O thou, who goest behind the others, not 

I. v. 8. At this sign that Dante's body was that of a 
living man. 

200 PURGATORY [vv. 17-45 

from being slower, but perhaps from reverence, 
reply to me, who am burning in thirst and fire : 
nor by me only is thy reply needed, for all these 
have a greater thirst for it than Indian or Ethiop 
for cold water. Tell us how it is that thou 
makest of thyself a wall to the sun, as if thou 
hadst not yet entered within the net of death." 
Thus spoke one of them to me ; and I should 
at once have made myself known, if I had not 
given attention to another new thing which 
then appeared ; for along the middle of the 
burning road were coming people with their 
faces opposite to these, which held me engaged 
to look at them. There I see, on either side, 
each shade making haste and one kissing the 
other, without stopping, content with a brief 
greeting. Thus within their brown troop one 
ant touches muzzle with another, perchance to 
spy out their way and their fortune. 

Soon as they end the friendly salutation, be- 
fore the first step runs onward by, each strives 
to outcry the other ; the new-come folk : cc So- 
dom and Gomorrah/ ' and the other : cc Into 
the cow enters Pasiphae, that the bull may run 
to her lust." Then like cranes, which should 
fly part to the Riphaean mountains, 2 and part 
toward the sands, 3 these shunning the frost and 

2. v. 43. Mountains vaguely placed by the early geo- 
graphers in the far North. 

3. v. 44. The deserts of Libya. 

vv. 46-69] CANTO XXVI 201 

those the sun, the one folk goes, the other 
cornes on, and, weeping, they return to their 
first chants, 4 and to the cry which most befits 

And those same who had prayed me drew 
near to me as before, intent in their looks to 
listen. I, who twice had seen their desire, be- 
gan : " O souls, secure of having, whenever it 
may be, a state of peace, my limbs have not 
remained yonder, either unripe nor mature, but 
are here with me, with their blood, and with 
their joints. I go hence upward in order to 
be no longer blind. A Lady is on high who 
wins grace for us, 5 whereby I bring my mortal 
body through your world. But so may your 
greatest wish soon become satisfied, in such wise 
that that heaven may harbor you which is full 
of love, and most amply spreads, 6 tell me, in 
order that I may yet rule the paper for it, who 
are ye, and who are that crowd which go their 
way behind your backs." 

Not otherwise is the astonished mountain- 
eer confused, and gazing round is dumb, when 
rough and rustic he enters the town, than each 

4. v. 47. Summae Deus clementiae. Canto xxv. 121. 

5. v. 59. The Virgin Mary ; sec Hell, ii. 94-96, 
"who wins grace for us," that is, for all for whom she in- 
tercedes, not for Dante alone. 

6. v. 63. The Empyrean, the scat of Paradise. 

202 PURGATORY [vv. 70-93 

shade became in its appearance ; but, after they 
were unburdened of their astonishment, which 
in high hearts is quickly abated : " Blessed 
thou," began again the one who first had ques- 
tioned me, " who, in order the better to die, dost 
ship experience of our regions. The people 
who do not come with us offended in that for 
which once Caesar in his triumph heard c Queen ' 
shouted out against him ; therefore they go off 
crying c Sodom/ upbraiding themselves, as thou 
hast heard, and they help the burning by their 
shame. Our sin was hermaphrodite ; but be- 
cause, following our appetite like beasts, we 
did not observe human law, when we part from 
them we recite, in opprobrium of ourselves, the 
name of her who bestialized herself in the beast- 
shaped planks. Now thou knowest our deeds, 
and of what we were guilty ; if, perchance, thou 
wishest to know by name who we are, there is 
not time to tell, and I should not know. I will 
indeed make thee short of wish about myself; 
I am Guido Guinicelli ; 7 and I am purging 
myself already, because I truly repented before 
my last hour." 

7. v. 92. Of Bologna; the most illustrious of the Ital- 
ian poets before Dante ; the date of his death is uncertain, 
but he was living in 1274. Of his life little is known, but 
some of his verses survive and justify Dante's words concern- 
ing them. See Canto xi. 97. 

vv.94-"3] CANTO XXVI 203 

Such as in the frenzy of Lycurgus her two 
sons became at seeing again their mother, 8 such 
I became, but I rise not so far, 9 when I hear 
name himself the father of me, and of the 
others my betters who ever used sweet and gra- 
cious rhymes of love ; and without hearing or 
speaking, full of thought, I went on, gazing a 
long time upon him ; nor, for the fire, did I 
draw nearer to him. When I was fed with look- 
ing, I offered myself wholly ready for his ser- 
vice, with the affirmation which makes another 
believe. And he to me : " By what I hear, thou 
leavest such impression on me, and so clear, 10 
that Lethe cannot take it away nor make it 
dim. But, if thy words just now swore truth, tell 
me what is the reason why thou displayest in 
speech and look that thou dost hold me dear? " 
And I to him, " The sweet ditties of yours, 
which, so long as the modern use " shall en- 

8. v. 95. "Lycurgus, King of Nemea, enraged with 
Hypsipyle for leaving his infant child, who was killed by a 
serpent, while she was showing the river Langia to the Ar- 
gives (see Canto xxii. 112), was about to kill her, when she 
was found and rescued by her own sons." (Pollock.) The 
story is told by Statius in the fifth book of his Thebaid. 

9. v. 96. I was more restrained than they, not rushing 
forward as they did. 

10. v. 107. That is, " Thy words so convince me of 
thy affection for me." 

11. v. 113. The modern use of the vulgar tongue in 

204 PURGATORY [vv. 1 14-135 

dure, will still make dear their ink." " O bro- 
ther/' said he, " this one whom I point out to 
thee with my finger," and he pointed to a spirit 
in advance/ 2 cc was a better smith of his mother 
tongue. In verses of love and proses of ro- 
mances he surpassed all ; and let the foolish talk 
who think that he of Limoges I3 excels him ; to 
rumor more than to the truth they turn their 
faces, and thus establish their opinion, before 
art or reason is listened to by them. Thus did 
many of old concerning Guittone, 14 from cry to 
cry giving the prize only to him, until the truth 
prevailed with more persons. Now if thou hast 
such ample privilege that it is permitted thee 
to go unto the cloister in which Christ is abbot 
of the college, say to him for me one pater- 
noster, so far as is needful for us in this world, 
where power to sin is no longer ours." IS 

Then, perhaps to give place to one who was 
near behind him, he disappeared through the 
fire, like a fish going through the water to the 

12. v. 116. Arnaut Daniel, a famous Provencal trouba- 
dour of the end of the 1 2th century. Modern judgment does 
not confirm Dante's opinion of his excellence as a poet. 

13. v. 120. Giraut de Borneil, another famous poet, 
contemporary with Arnaut Daniel. 

14. v. 124. Guittone d' Arezzo ; see Canto xxiv. 56. 

15. v. 132. The words in the Lord's Prayer, "Lead 
us not into temptation," are not needed for the spirits in Pur- 

vv. 136-148] CANTO XXVI 205 

bottom. I moved forward a little to him who 
had been pointed out to me, and said, that for 
his name my desire was preparing a gracious 
place. He readily began to say : l6 " Your 
courteous request so pleases me that I cannot, 
nor do I wish to hide me from you. I am Ar- 
naut, who weep and go singing ; contrite I see 
my past folly, and glad I see before me the joy 
I hope for. Now I pray you, by that Power 
which guides you to the summit of this stair- 
way, at due time be mindful of my pain." Then 
he hid himself in the fire which refines them. 

16. v. 139. The words of Arnaut are in the Provencal 


Seventh Ledge : the Lustful. — Passage through the 
Flames. — Stairway in the rock. — Night upon the stairs. 
— Dream of Dante. — Morning. — Ascent to the 
Earthly Paradise. — Last words of Virgil. 

As when he darts forth his first rays there 
where his Maker shed His blood (Ebro falling 
under the lofty Scales, and the waves in the 
Ganges scorched by noon) so the sun was now 
standing ; z and thus the day was departing, 
when the glad Angel of God appeared to us. 
Outside the flame he was standing on the bank, 
and was singing : Beati mundo corde, 2 in a voice 
far more living than ours. Then : " No one 
goes farther, ye holy souls, if first the fire sting 
not : enter into it, and to the song beyond be 
ye not deaf," he said to us, as we drew near to 
him : whereat I became such, when I heard him, 

i. v. 5. It was near sunrise at Jerusalem, and conse- 
quently near sunset in Purgatory, midnight in Spain, and mid- 
day at the Ganges. 
,2. v. 8. " Blessed are the pure in heart." 

vv. 15-41] CANTO XXVII 207 

as is he who is put in the pit. 3 I stretched 
forward above my clasped hands, looking at 
the fire, and vividly imagining human bodies 
I had once seen burnt. My good Escorts 
turned toward me, and Virgil said to me : 
" My son, here may be torment, but not death. 
Bethink thee ! bethink thee ! . . . lo, if I even 
upon Geryon guided thee safe, what shall I 
do now that I am nearer God? Believe for 
certain that if within the belly of this flame 
thou shouldst stand full a thousand years it 
could not make thee bald of a single hair. And 
if perchance thou believest that I am deceiving 
thee, draw towards it, and make trial for thyself 
with thine own hands upon the hem of thy gar- 
ments. Put aside now, put aside every fear, 
turn hitherward, and come on secure." 

And I still motionless and against con- 
science ! 

When he saw me still stand motionless and 
obdurate, he said, disturbed a little : " Now see, 
son, between Beatrice and thee is this wall. " 

As at the name of Thisbe, Pyramus, at point 
of death, opened his eyelids and looked at her, 
what time the mulberry became dark red, so, 
my obduracy becoming softened, I turned to 
my wise Leader, hearing the name that in my 

3. v. 15. As the criminal who is about to be buried 

208 PURGATORY [v v. 42-67 

memory is ever welling up. Whereat he nodded 
his head, and said : "How? do we want to stay 
on this side ? " then he smiled as one does at a 
child who is conquered by an apple. 

Then within the fire he set himself in front 
of me, praying Statius, that he would come be- 
hind, who previously, for a long way, had di- 
vided us. When I was within, I would have 
thrown myself into boiling glass to cool me, so 
without measure was the burning there. My 
sweet Father, to encourage me, went talking 
only of Beatrice, saying : " I seem already to 
see her eyes." 

A voice which was singing on the other side 
was guiding us, and we, attentive ever to it, came 
forth where the ascent began. " Venite, benedicti 
patris mei" 4 sounded within a light that was 
there such that it overcame me, and I could 
not look on it. " The sun is going," it added, 
" and the evening comes ; tarry not, but hasten 
your steps so long as the west grows not dark." 

The way mounted straight, through the rock, 
in such direction 5 that in front of me I cut 
off the rays of the sun which was already low. 
And of few stairs had we made essay ere, by the 

4. v. 58. "Come, ye blessed of my Father." Mat- 
thew xxv. 34. 

5. v. 65. Toward the east, so that Dante's shadow fell 
in front of him. 

vv. 68-96] CANTO XXVII 209 

vanishing of my shadow, both I and my Sages 
perceived the setting of the sun behind us. 
And before the horizon in all its immeasurable 
regions had become of one aspect, and night 
had all her dispensations, each of us made his 
bed of a stair ; for the nature of the mountain 
took from us the power, more than the delight, 
of ascending. 

As goats, that have been swift and wanton 
on the peaks ere they were fed, become tranquil 
while they ruminate, hushed in the shade so 
long as the sun is hot, watched by the shepherd, 
who on his staff is leaning and, leaning, tends 
them ; and as the herdsman, who lodges out of 
doors, passes the night beside his quiet flock, 
watching that the wild beast may not scatter it : 
such were we all three then, I like a goat, and 
they like shepherds, hemmed in on this side 
and on that by the high rock. Little of the 
outside could there be seen, but in that little I 
saw the stars both brighter and larger than their 
wont. Thus ruminating, and thus gazing upon 
them, sleep overcame me, sleep which oft before 
the deed be done knows news thereof. 

At the hour, I think, when from the east 
Cytherea, who with fire of love seems always 
burning, first beamed upon the mountain, 6 I 

6. v. 95. In the dawn, when Cytherea, that is, Venus, the 
morning star, was rising. Cf. Canto i. 19, 20. Cytherea, 

2io PURGATORY [vv. 97-117 

seemed in dream to see a lady, young and beau- 
tiful, going through a meadow gathering flow- 
ers, and singing she was saying: "Let him 
know, whoso asks my name, that I am Leah, 
and I go moving my fair hands around to make 
me a garland. To please me at the mirror I 
here adorn me, but my sister Rachel never 
departs from her looking-glass, and sits all day. 
She is as fain to look at her fair eyes as I to 
adorn me with my hands. Her, seeing, and 
me, doing satisfies." 7 

And now before the splendors which precede 
the sun, and rise the more grateful unto pil- 
grims as in returning they lodge less far away, 8 
the shadows were fleeing on every side, and my 
sleep with them ; whereupon I rose, seeing the 
great Masters already risen. " That sweet fruit 
which the care of mortals goes seeking upon so 
many branches, to-day shall set at peace thy 

as an epithet of Venus, was derived from the name of the 
island, Cythera (now Cerigo), off the southeastern point of 
Laconia, the spot where the goddess landed after her birth 
from the foam of the sea. 

7. v. 108. Leah and Rachel are the types of the active 
and the contemplative life. The seeing which contents Ra- 
chel is the contemplation of the Divine mysteries, the doing 
which contents Leah is work according to the Divine will. 
Rachel gazes at her own fair eyes in the mirror because they 
reflect to her the vision of God. 

8. v. 1 1 1. As they come nearer home. 

vv. 118-135] CANTO XXVII 211 

l^ngerings." 9 These words did Virgil use to- 
ward me, and never were there gifts which for 
pleasure were equal to these. Such great wish 
upon wish came to me to be above, that at 
every step thereafter I felt my wings growing 
for the flight. 

When beneath us all the stairway had been run 
over, and we were on the topmost step, Virgil 
fixed his eyes on me, and said : " The temporal 
fire and the eternal IO thou hast seen, Son, and 
art come to a place where of myself I discern no 
farther. " I have brought thee here with under- 
standing and with art ; thine own pleasure take 
thou henceforward for guide: forth art thou from 
the steep ways, forth art thou from the narrow. 
See there the sun, which is shining on thy front ; 
see the young grass, the flowers, and the shrubs, 
which here the earth of itself alone produces. 

9. v. 117. In his De Monorchia, iii. 16, Dante says, 
Providence set before man two ends to be striven for, of 
which the first is beatitude in this life, which consists in the 
activity of his own virtue, and is figured by the terrestrial 

10. v. 127. The temporal fire is that of Purgatory, the 
eternal that of Hell. 

11. v. 129. Human reason, rightly exercised, suffices 
to guide through the difficult paths of earthly life, to the at- 
tainment of its beatitude ; but for the attainment of the beati- 
tude of eternal life there is need of the illumination of Divine 

212 PURGATORY [vv. 136-142 

Until the beautiful eyes come rejoicing, which 
weeping made me come to thee, thou canst sit 
down and thou canst go among them. Expect 
no more or word or sign from me. Free, up- 
right, and sound is thine own will, and it would 
be wrong not to act according to its choice ; 
wherefore thee over thyself I crown and 

mitre." I2 

12. v. 142. The crown is the symbol of temporal 
power, the mitre of spiritual. 


The Earthly Paradise. — The Forest. — A Lady 
gathering flowers on the bank of a little stream. — Dis- 
course with her concerning the nature of the place. 

Fain now to search within and round about 
the divine forest dense and living, which was 
tempering the new day to my eyes, without 
longer waiting I left the bank, 1 taking the level 
ground very slowly, over the soil which on 
every side breathed fragrance. A sweet breeze 
that had no variation in itself smote me on the 
brow, not with heavier stroke than a soft wind ; 
at which the branches, readily trembling, one 
and all were bending toward the quarter where 
the holy mountain casts its first shadow ; 2 yet 
not so swayed from their uprightness, that the 
little birds among the tops had to leave the 
practice of their every art ; but, singing with full 
joy, they received the early breezes among the 

1. v. 4. The outer edge of the mountain. 

2. v. 12. The branches bent toward the West, for the 
breeze was the movement of the air produced by the revolu- 
tion of the spheres from East to West. (See verse 103.) 

214 PURGATORY [w. 18-43 

leaves, which were keeping a burden to their 
rhymes, such as gathers from bough to bough 
through the pine forest on the shore ofChiassi, 3 
when Aeolus lets forth the Scirocco. 4 

Now had my slow steps carried me within 
the ancient wood so far that I could not see 
back to where I had entered it : and lo, a stream 
took from me further progress, which with its 
little waves was bending toward the left the grass 
that sprang up on its bank. All the waters, 
that are purest here on the earth, would seem to 
have some mixture in them, compared with that 
which hides nothing, although it moves along 
dusky under the perpetual shadow, 5 which never 
lets the sun or moon shine there. 

With my feet I stood still, and with my eyes 
I passed to the other side of the streamlet, to 
gaze at the great variety of the fresh blossoms ; 
and there, even as a thing appears suddenly 
which turns aside through wonder every other 
thought, appeared to me a solitary lady, who 
was going along, singing, and culling flower 
from flower, wherewith all her path was painted. 
" Ah, fair Lady, 6 who warmest thyself in the 

3. v. 20. Classe, the old port of Ravenna, from which 
the sea long since receded. 

4. v. 21. The southeast wind. 

5. v. 32. Of the dense wood. 

6. v. 43. This lady corresponds to Leah as the type of 

vv. 44-68] CANTO XXVIII 215 

rays of love, if I may trust to looks which are 
wont to be witnesses of the heart, may the will 
come to thee," said I to her, " to draw forward 
toward this stream, so far that I may hear what 
thou art singing. Thou makest me remember 
where and what was Proserpine, at the time 
when her mother lost her, and she the spring." 
As a lady who is dancing turns, with feet 
close to the ground and to each other, and 
hardly sets foot before foot, she turned on the 
red and the yellow flowerets toward me, not 
otherwise than a virgin who lowers her modest 
eyes, and made my prayers content, approach- 
ing so that the sweet sound came to me with its 
meaning. So soon as she was there where the 
grasses are just bathed by the waves of the fair 
stream, she gave me the boon of lifting her 
eyes. I do not believe that so great a light 
shone beneath the eyelids of Venus, when trans- 
fixed by her son quite out of his custom. 7 She 
was smiling upon the right bank opposite, 
gathering with her hands the many colors which 

the life of virtuous activity. Her name, as appears later, is 
Matilda. Why this name was chosen for her, and whether 
she stands for any earthly personage, has been the subject of 
vast and still open debate. 

7. v. 66. According to Ovid, Metam. x. 525, 526, 
Cupid wounded his mother uni?itentionally, thereby causing 
her to love Adonis. 

216 PURGATORY [vv. 69-87 

that high land brings forth without seed. The 
stream made us three paces apart ; but the 
Hellespont where Xerxes passed it — still a 
curb on all human pride — endured not more 
hatred from Leander for swelling between Sestos 
and Abydos, than that from me because it did 
not then open. " Ye are new come," she be- 
gan, " and, perchance, why I smile in this place 
chosen for human nature as its nest, some doubt 
holds you marvelling ; but the psalm c Delec- 
tasti \ 8 affords light which may uncloud your 
understanding. And thou who art in front, 9 and 
didst pray to me, say, if aught else thou wouldst 
hear, for I came ready for every question of 
thine, so far as may suffice." "The water," 
said I, fC and the sound of the forest, impugn 
within me recent faith in something which I 
heard contrary to this." IO Whereon she : " I 

8. v. 80. Psalm xcii. 4. " Delectasti me, Domine, in 
factura tua, et inoperibus manuum tuarum exultabo." " For 
thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work ; I will 
triumph in the works of thy hands.' ' Delight in the work 
of the Lord is the motive of the lady's smile. 

9. v. 82. Dante is now preceding his former guides. 

10. v. 87. Statius had told Dante (Canto xxi. 43—53) 
that the exhalations of water or of earth, which are the cause of 
wind and the source of streams, do not rise above the gate of 
Purgatory, but the rivulet by which they are standing, and 
the breeze which sounds through the forest seem to contradict 
his statement. 

vv. 88-107] CANTO XXVIII 217 

will tell how that which makes thee wonder 
proceeds from its own cause ; and I will clear 
away the mist which falls upon thee. 

" The supreme Good, which Itself alone is 
pleasing to Itself, made man good, and for good, 
and gave to him this place for earnest of eternal 
peace. Through his own default he dwelt here 
little while; through his own default he changed 
honest laughter and sweet sport to tears and to 
toil. In order that the disturbance, which the 
exhalations of the water and of the earth (that 
follow after the heat so far as they can) produce 
down below, should not make any war on man, 
this mountain rose so high toward heaven, and 
is free from them, from there where it is locked 
in. Now because the whole air revolves in a 
circuit with the primal revolution," if its circling 
be not broken by some obstacle, 12 upon this 
height, which is wholly disengaged in the living 
air, this motion strikes, and makes the wood, 

11. v. 104. With the movement given to it by the revo- 
lution of the crystalline heaven, the so-called Primum Mobile, 
from which the other heavenly spheres derive their motion. 

12. v. 105. Literally, " by some corner." The steady 
revolution of the air is broken on the Mount of Purgatory, 
which rises free toward the heavens, and thus the breeze is 
caused which, stirring the plants that are brought forth with- 
out seed, in the Terrestrial Paradise, then carries their virtue 
to the inhabited parts of the earth, where, if the soil be fit 
and the climate favorable, the trees and the flowers spring up. 

2i8 PURGATORY [vv. 108-131 

because it is thick-set, resound ; and the plant 
thus struck has such power that with its virtue 
it impregnates the breeze, and this in its whirl- 
ing then scatters it around ; and the rest of the 
earth, according as it is fit in itself, or through 
its sky, conceives and brings forth divers trees 
of divers virtues. It should not then, this 
being heard, appear a marvel on earth, when 
some plant takes root there without apparent 
seed. And thou must know that the holy plain 
where thou art is full of every seed, and has 
within itself fruit which is never gathered yonder 
upon earth. 

" The water which thou seest does not rise 
from a vein which vapor condensed by the frost 
restores, like a stream that gains and loses breath; 
but it issues from a constant and sure fountain, 
which by the will of God regains as much as it 
pours forth open on two sides. On this side 
it descends with virtue that takes from one the 
memory of sin ; on the other it restores that 
of every good deed. On this side it is called 
Lethe, 13 so on the other Eunoe ; and it works 

13. v. 130. Lethe, after flowing through the Earthly 
Paradise, must be supposed to fall to the foot of the Mountain, 
and there to enter the earth, thence wearing its way down to 
the centre, bearing thither that which it has washed from 
the memory of the purified sinner. It is the little stream the 
sound of whose winding course had guided Dante and Virgil 

w. 132-148] CANTO XXVIII 219 

not if first it be not tasted on this side then on 
that. 14 To all other savors this is superior. 

" And though thy thirst may be fully sated 
even if I reveal no more to thee, I will yet give 
thee a corollary as a favor ; nor do I think my 
speech will be less dear to thee, if it extend with 
thee beyond my promise. Those who in old 
time sang of the Golden Age, and of its happy 
state, perchance, upon Parnassus, dreamed of 
this place : here was the root of mankind in- 
nocent ; here is always spring, and every fruit ; 
this is the nectar of which each one of them 

I turned me backward then wholly to my 
Poets, and saw that with a smile they had heard 
the last words ; then to the beautiful Lady I 
turned again my eyes. 

through the dark cavernous passage by which they passed 
from Hell to Purgatory. See Hell, xxxiv. 127-132. 

14. v. 132. The water does not produce its full effect 
unless both streams be tasted. 


The Earthly Paradise. — Mystic Procession or Tri- 
umph of the Church. 

Singing like a lady enamored, she, at the 
ending of her words, continued : " Beati, quorum 
tecta sunt peccata." * And, like the nymphs who 
were wont to go solitary through the sylvan 
shades, one desiring to see and one to avoid the 
sun, she then moved on counter to the stream, 
going up along the bank, and I at even pace 
with her, following her little step with little. 
Of her steps and mine there were not a hundred, 
when the banks both alike gave a turn, in such 
wise that I faced again toward the east. Nor 
even thus had our way been long, when the 
lady turned wholly round to me, saying : " My 
brother, look and listen." And lo ! a sudden 
lustre ran through the great forest on every side, 
so that it made me question if it were lightning. 
But because the lightning stays even as it comes, 2 

i. v. 3. " Blessed are they whose transgressions are for- 
given. ' ' Psalm xxxii. 1 . 

2. v. 19. Its stay is but for the moment of its coming. 

vv. 20-45] CANTO XXIX 221 

and this, lasting, became more and more re- 
splendent, in my thought I said, " What thing 
is this ? " And a sweet melody ran through 
the luminous air ; whereupon a righteous zeal 
made me reproach the hardihood of Eve, who, 
there, where the earth and the heavens were 
obedient, the only woman, and but just now 
formed, did not endure to stay under any veil ; 
under which if she had stayed devout, I should 
have tasted those ineffable delights before, and 
for a longer time. While I was going on amid 
so many first fruits of the eternal pleasure, all' 
enrapt, and still desirous of more joys, 3 in front 
of us the air, beneath the green branches, be- 
came like a blazing fire, and the sweet sound 
was now heard as a song. 

O Virgins sacrosanct ! if for you I have ever 
endured hunger, cold, or vigils, the occasion 
spurs me that I claim reward therefor. Now 
it behoves that Helicon pour forth for me, and 
that Urania aid me with her choir to put into 
verse things difficult to think. 

A little farther on, the long tract of space 
which was still between us and them shewed 

3. v. 33. Virgil had told Dante that he should see 
Beatrice upon the summit of the Mountain. See Canto vi. 

222 PURGATORY [vv. 46-61 

falsely in their seeming seven trees of gold. 
But when I had come so near to them that the 
common object, which deceives the sense, 4 lost 
not through distance any of its attributes, the 
power which supplies discourse to reason s dis- 
tinguished them as candlesticks, 6 and in the 
voices of the song, " Hosanna" On high the 
fair array was flaming, brighter by far than 
the moon in the clear sky at midnight, in the 
middle of her month. I turned me round full 
of wonder to the good Virgil, and he replied to 
me with a look charged not less with amaze- 
ment. Then I turned back my gaze to the 
high things, which were moving toward us so 
slowly that they would have been outstripped 
by new-made brides. The lady chided me : 

4. v. 47. An object which has properties common to 
many things, so that at a distance the sight cannot distinguish 
its specific nature. 

5. v. 49. The faculty of perception or apprehension. 
See Canto xviii. 22. 

6. v. 50. The imagery of the Triumph of the Church 
here described is largely taken from the Apocalypse. " And 
I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being 
turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks." Revelation i. 
12. "And there were seven lamps of fire burning before 
the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." Id. iv. 
5. " And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the 
spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and 
might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." 
Isaiah xi. 2. 

vv. 62-83] CANTO XXIX 223 

" Why art thou only thus ardent in gazing on 
the living lights, and dost not look at that which 
comes behind them ? " Then I saw folk com- 
ing behind, as if after their leaders, clothed in 
white, and such whiteness there never was on 
earth. 7 The water was resplendent on the left 
flank, and reflected to me my left side, if I 
looked in it, even as a mirror. When I had 
such position on my bank that only the stream 
separated me, in order to see better, I gave halt 
to my steps, and I saw the flamelets go for- 
ward leaving the air behind them painted, and 
they had the semblance of streaming pennons, 
so that it remained divided overhead by seven 
stripes, all in those colors whereof the sun makes 
his bow, and Delia her girdle. 8 These banners 
stretched to the rear beyond my sight, and ac- 
cording to my judgment the outermost were 
ten paces apart. Under so fair a sky as I de- 
scribe, twenty-four elders, 9 two by two, were 

7. v. 66. " And his raiment became shining, exceeding 
white as snow ; so as no fuller on earth can white them." 
Mark ix. 3. 

8. v. 78. Delia, the moon, and her girdle the halo. 

9. v. 83. "And round about the throne were four and 
twenty seats : and upon the seats I saw four and twenty 
elders sitting, clothed in white raiment." Revelation iv. 4. 
These four and twenty elders in white raiment, and crowned 
with white lilies, white being the color of faith, symbolize 
the books of the Old Testament. The reckoning of the 

224 PURGATORY [vv. 84-105 

coming crowned with flower-de-luce. All were 
singing : " Blessed art thou among the daugh- 
ters of Adam, and blessed forever be thy beau- 


After the flowers and the other fresh herbage, 
opposite to me on the other bank, were free 
from those folk elect, there came behind them, 
even as light follows light in heaven, four liv- 
ing creatures, each crowned with green leaves. 
Each was feathered with six wings, the feathers 
full of eyes ; and the eyes of Argus, if they 
were living, would be such. IO To describe 
their forms, Reader, I scatter rhymes no more, 
for other spending so constrains me that in this 
I cannot be liberal. But read Ezekiel, who de- 
picts them as he saw them coming from the cold 
quarter with wind, with cloud, and with fire ; 
and such as thou wilt find them in his pages 
such were they here, save that as to the wings 
John is with me, and differs from him. 11 

number of these books as twenty-four is made by St. 
Jerome in his preface to the Scriptures, called Prologus gale- 
atus, by counting five books of Moses, eight of the prophets 
(those of the twelve minor prophets being reckoned as one), 
and eleven of the historical and other books; and these 
twenty-four books are symbolized, according to the Saint, by 
the four and twenty elders of the Apocalypse. 

10. v. 96. The eyes were keen and vigilant as those of 
the living Argus. 

11. v. 105. These four living creatures, which represent 

vv. 106-119] CANTO XXIX 225 

The space between these four contained a tri- 
umphal chariot upon two wheels, which came 
drawn along by the neck of a Griffon. 12 And 
he stretched up the one and the other of his 
wings between the midmost stripe, and the three 
and three others, so that he did harm to no one 
of them by cleaving it : so high they rose that 
they were lost to sight. His members were of 
gold so far as he was bird, and the rest were 
white mixed with crimson. Not Africanus, or 
indeed Augustus, gladdened Rome with so 
beautiful a chariot ; I3 but even that of the Sun 
would be poor to it, — that of the Sun, which, 
going astray, 14 was consumed at the prayer of 

the four Evangelists, are described by Ezekiel (i. 6) as having 
four wings, but in the Revelation (iv. 8) John gives to each 
of them six wings : " and they were full of eyes within." 
They are crowned with green, as the color of hope ; their 
wings may indicate the heavenly nature of the truth of which 
they are the messengers, and the eyes their spiritual in- 

12. v. 108. The griffon, half eagle and half lion, repre- 
sents Christ in his double nature, divine and human. His 
head and neck and wings, the parts of him symbolizing his 
divine nature, are of gold, while his body, symbolizing his 
human nature, is white and crimson, the colors of flesh and 
blood. " My beloved is white and ruddy, ... his head is 
as the most fine gold." Song of Solomon v. 10, 11. The 
chariot which he draws is the Church. 

13. v. 116. On occasion of their Triumphs. 

14. v. 118. When driven by Phaethon. 

226 PURGATORY [vv. 120-138 

the devout Earth, when Jove in his secrecy was 
just. Three ladies/ 5 at the right wheel, came 
dancing in a circle ; one so ruddy that hardly 
would she have been noted within the fire ; 
the next was as if her flesh and bones had been 
made of emerald ; the third seemed as snow 
fresh fallen. And now they seemed led by the 
white, now by the red, 16 and the others took 
their step both slow and swift from the song 
of her who led. On the left, four, 17 robed in 
purple, made festival, following the measure 
of one of them who had three eyes in her 

Behind all the group thus described, I saw 
two old men, unlike in dress, but like in de- 
meanor, both dignified and staid. The one 
showed himself one of the familiars of that su- 
preme Hippocrates whom Nature made for the 
creatures that she holds most dear ; l8 the other 

15. v. 121. The theological virtues, Faith, Hope, and 
Charity, of the colors respectively appropriate to them. 

16. v. 128. Hope must always follow Faith or Love. 

17. v. 130. The four cardinal Virtues, in purple, the 
imperial color, typifying their rule over human conduct, — 
Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude : Prudence has 
three eyes, as looking at the past, the present, and the future, 
and she leads the others because she is " the directress of all 
the moral virtues." S. T. iii. 85. 3. 

18. v. 138. The book of Acts, represented under the 
type of its author, St. Luke, called " the beloved physi- 

vv. 139-154] CANTO XXIX 227 

showed the contrary care, 19 with a shining and 
sharp sword, such that it caused me fear on the 
hither side of the stream. Then I saw four of 
humble aspect, and behind all an old man alone, 
coming asleep with a keen countenance. 20 And 
these seven were robed like the first band ; 21 but 
they made not a crown of lilies round their 
heads, rather of roses, and of other red flowers. 22 
The sight at little distance would have sworn 
that all were aflame above their brows. 

And when the chariot was abreast of me, a 
peal of thunder was heard, and those worthy 
people seemed to have their farther progress in- 
terdicted, stopping there with the first ensigns. 23 

cian." Colossians iv. 14. Man is the creature whom 
Nature holds dearest. 

19. v. 139. The Pauline Epistles, typified by their 
writer, whose sword is the symbol of war and martyrdom, a 
" contrary care" to the healing of men. 

20. v. 144. The four " humble in appearance" are 
the representatives in their writers of the minor Epistles, and 
they are followed by St. John, as the writer of the Reve- 
lation, asleep, and yet with lively countenance, because he 
was " in the Spirit " when he beheld his vision. 

21. v. 146. In white raiment. 

22. v. 148. The red flowers are symbolic of the fires 
of Christian love. 

23. v. 154. The seven candlesticks with their pennons. 
Vellutello has pointed out that the procession of the Church 
is in the form of a cross : the candlesticks forming its foot, 
the four and twenty elders its lower limb, the chariot with the 

228 PURGATORY [v. 154 

Virtues on either side fashioning its crossing and arms, and the 
seven " apparelled like the first band " its upper limb. 

The allegory of the procession itself seems to be that the 
Church, the Divine institution for bringing sinful men to 
God, comes to meet the penitent sinner, manifesting to him 
its sublime nature, and receiving him finally (see Canto xxxii. 
29) as one of its own members. 


The Earthly Paradise. — Beatrice appears. — De- 
parture of Virgil. — Reproof of Dante by Beatrice. 

When the Septentrion of the first heaven * 
(which never knew setting nor rising, nor veil 
of other cloud than sin, and which was making 
every one there acquainted with his duty, as the 
lower 2 makes him who turns the helm to come 
to port) stopped still, the truthful people 3 who 
had come first between the Griffon and it, 4 
turned to the chariot as to their peace, and one 
of them, as if sent from heaven, singing, cried 
thrice : " Veni> sponsa, de Libano" s and all the 
others after. 

1. v. i. The seven candlesticks, symbols of the seven- 
fold spirit of the Lord, whose abode is the first heaven, the 

2. v. 5. The lower septentrion, or the seven stars of 
the Great Bear. 

3. v. 7. The personifications of the truthful books of the 
Old Testament. 

4. v. 8. The septentrion of the first heaven. 

5. v. 11. " Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse." 
The Song of Solomon iv. 8. In the Vulgate the Veni is 

230 PURGATORY [vv. 13-27 

As the blessed at the last trump will arise 
swiftly, each from his tomb, singing Hallelujah 
with reinvested voice, 6 so, upon the divine 
wagon, ad vocem tanti senis, 7 rose up a hundred 
ministers and messengers of life eternal. All 
were saying: " Benedictus, qui venis" 8 and, scat- 
tering flowers above and around, Manibus date 
Mia pknis. 9 

I have seen ere now at the beginning of the 
day the eastern region all rosy, and the rest of 
heaven beautiful with fair clear sky, and the 
face of the sun rising shaded, so that through 
the tempering of vapors IO the eye sustained it 

thrice repeated, " Veni de Libano, sponsa mea, veni de Li- 
bano, veni." 

6. v. 1 5. " And after these things I heard a great voice 
of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia." Revelation 
xix. 1. 

7. v. 17. "At the voice of so great an elder ; " these 
words are in Latin apparently for the sake of matching the 
rhyme with that of the two following verses. 

8. v. 19. " Blessed thou that comest," words derived 
from Psalm cxviii. 26, and shouted by the multitude at the en- 
trance of Jesus to Jerusalem (Matthew xxi. 9), but here used 
with a change in the verb from the third to the second person. 

9. v. 21. " Oh, give lilies with full hands ;" words 
from the Aeneid, vi. 884 ; and whether they are to be taken 
as sung by the angels, or as descriptive of the angelic action, 
supreme honor is paid to Virgil by their introduction in this 
sacred scene. 

10. v. 26. The mists at the horizon. 

vv. 28-52] CANTO XXX 231 

a long while ; thus within a cloud of flowers, 
which was ascending from the angelic hands and 
falling down again within and without, a lady, 
with wreath of olive over a white veil, appeared 
to me, robed with the color of living flame 
under a green mantle." And my spirit which 
now for so long a time had not been broken 
down, trembling with awe at her presence, 
without having more knowledge by the eyes, 
through occult virtue that proceeded from her, 
felt the great potency of ancient love. 

Soon as the lofty virtue smote my sight, 
which already had transfixed me ere I was out 
of boyhood, I turned me to the left, with the 
confidence with which the little child runs to 
his mother when he is frightened, or when he 
is troubled, to say to Virgil : " Less than a 
drachm of blood remains in me that does not 
tremble ; I recognize the signals of the ancient 
flame." I2 But Virgil had left us deprived of 
himself; Virgil, sweetest Father; Virgil, to 
whom for my salvation I gave me. Nor did 
all which the ancient mother lost I3 avail unto 

11. v. 3 3 . The olive is the symbol of wisdom and of 
peace ; the three colors are those of Faith, Charity, and Hope. 

12. v. 48. " Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae." 
Aeneid iv. 28. 

13. v. 53. All the beauty of the Earthly Paradise which 
Eve lost and which now surrounded Dante. 

232 PURGATORY [vv. 53-79 

my cheeks, cleansed with dew/ 4 that they should 
not turn dark again with tears. 

" Dante/ 5 though Virgil be gone away, weep 
not yet, weep not yet, for by another sword 
thou needst must weep." 

Like an admiral who, on poop or on prow, 
comes to see the people that are serving on the 
other ships, and encourages them to do well, 
upon the left-hand border of the chariot — 
when I turned me at the sound of my own 
name, which of necessity is registered here, — 
I saw the Lady, who had first appeared to me 
veiled beneath the angelic festival, directing her 
eyes toward me across the stream. Although 
the veil, which descended from her head, circled 
by the leaf of Minerva, did not allow her to 
appear distinctly, royally, still severe in her 
mien, she went on, as one who speaks, and 
keeps back his warmest words : " Look at me 
well : I am, indeed, I am, indeed, Beatrice. 
How hast thou deigned to approach the moun- 
tain ? Didst thou not know that here man is 
happy?" My eyes fell down to the clear 
fount ; but seeing myself in it I drew them to 
the grass, such great shame weighed on my 
brow. As to her son the mother seems 

4. v. 53. See Canto i. 1 21-129. 

5. v. 55. The only mention of Dante's name in the 


w. 80-93] CANTOXXX 233 

haughty, so she seemed to me ; for somewhat 
bitter tastes the savor of tart pity. 

She was silent, and the angels sang of a sud- 
den : " In te, Domine, speravi ; " but beyond 
"pedes meos " l6 they did not pass. Even as 
the snow, among the living rafters upon the 
back of Italy, 17 is congealed, blown and packed 
by Sclavonian winds, then melting, trickles 
through itself, if only the land which loses sha- 
dow breathe, 18 so that it seems as fire melting 
the candle : thus was I without tears and sighs 
before the song of them who always sing fol- 
lowing the notes of the eternal spheres ; but 

16. v. 84. " In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust ; let 
me never be ashamed : deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow 
down thine ear to me ; deliver me speedily : be thou my 
strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art 
my rock and my fortress ; therefore for thy name's sake lead 
me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have 
laid privily for me : for thou art my strength. Into thine hand 
I commit my spirit : thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God 
of truth. I have hated them that regard lying vanities : but 
I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy : 
for thou hast considered my trouble ; thou hast known my 
soul in adversities. And hast not shut me up into the hand 
of the enemy : thou hast set my feet in a large room." 
Psalm xxxi. 1-8. 

17. v. 86. The forests upon the Apennines. 

18. v. 89. The snow, frozen by the winds from the 
north, melts when the wind blows from Africa, which, with 
advance of the Spring, loses shadow. 

234 PURGATORY [vv. 94-116 

when I heard in their sweet melodies their com- 
passion for me, more than if they had said: 
" Lady, why dost thou so confound him ? " the 
ice that was bound tight around my heart be- 
came breath and water, and with anguish issued 
from my breast, through my mouth and through 
my eyes. 

She, still standing motionless on the afore- 
said side of the chariot, then turned her words 
to those pious I9 beings thus : " Ye watch in 
the eternal day, so that nor night nor slumber 
robs from you one step the world may make 
along its ways ; wherefore my reply is with 
greater care, that he who is weeping yonder 
may understand me, 20 in order that fault and 
grief may be of one measure. Not only through 
the working of the great wheels, 21 which direct 
every seed to some end according as the stars 
are its companions, but through largess of di- 
vine graces, which have for their rain 22 vapors 
so lofty that our sight goes not near thereto, — 
this man was virtually such in his new life, 23 
that every right disposition would have made 

19. v. 101. Both devout and piteous. 

20. v. 1 07. My reply is, for his sake, fuller than is need- 
ful for you who know everything that happens in the world. 

21. v. 109. The circling heavens. 

22. v. 113. As source of their rain. 

23. v. 115. In his youth. 

vv. 117-145] CANTO XXX 235 

admirable proof in him. But so much the 
more malign and wild does the ground become 
with bad seed and unfilled, as it has the more 
of good earthly vigor. Some time did I sustain 
him with my face ; showing my youthful eyes 
to him, I led him with me turned in right direc- 
tion. So soon as I was on the threshold of 
my second age, and had changed life, he took 
himself from me, and gave himself to others. 
When I had risen from flesh to spirit, and 
beauty and virtue were increased in me, I was 
less dear and less pleasing to him ; and he turned 
his steps along a way not true, following false 
images of good, which pay no promise in full. 
Nor did it avail me to obtain 24 inspirations with 
which, both in dream and otherwise, I called 
him back ; so little did he heed them. So low 
he fell that all means for his salvation were 
already short, save showing him the lost peo- 
ple. For this I visited the gate of the dead, 
and to him, who has conducted him up hither, 
my prayers were borne with weeping. The 
high decree of God would be broken, if Lethe 
should be passed, and such viand 25 should be 
tasted, without some scot of repentance which 
may pour forth tears." 

24. v. 133. Through the grace of God. 

25. v. 143. The living water of Lethe, which takes 
away the memory of committed sin. 


The Earthly Paradise. — Reproachful discourse of 
Beatrice, and confession of Dante. — Passage of Lethe, 
— Appeal of the Virtues to Beatrice. — Her Unveiling. 

" O thou, who art on the farther side of the 
sacred river/' turning her speech to me with 
the point, which only with the edge had seemed 
to me keen, she began anew, going on without 
delay, " Say, say, if this is true : to so heavy a 
charge thine own confession must needs be con- 
joined." My faculties were so confused, that 
the voice moved, and became extinct before it 
had been released from its organs. A little 
while she waited, then said : " What thinkest 
thou ? Reply to me ; for the sad memories in 
thee are not yet injured by the water." x Con- 
fusion and fear mingled together forced such a 
" Yes " from out my mouth, that the eyes were 
needed for the hearing of it. 

As a cross-bow breaks its cord and its bow 
when it shoots with too great tension, and the 
shaft hits the mark with less force, so did I 

i. v. 12. Are still vivid, not yet obliterated by the 
water of Lethe. 

vv. 19-43] CANTO XXXI 237 

burst under that heavy load, pouring forth tears 
and sighs, and the voice slackened along its 
passage. Whereupon she to me : " Within 
those desires of mine 2 that were leading thee 
to love the Good beyond which there is no- 
thing to which one may aspire, what trenches 
running traverse, or what chains didst thou find, 
for which thou shouldst thus have despoiled 
thyself of the hope of passing onward ? And 
what satisfactions, or what advantages were dis- 
played on the brow of the others, for which 
thou shouldst have lingered before them ? " 
After the drawing of a bitter sigh, hardly had 
I the voice to make answer, and the lips with 
difficulty gave it form. Weeping, I said : 
" The present things with their false pleasure 
turned my steps, soon as your face was hid- 
den." And she : " Hadst thou been silent, or 
hadst thou denied that which thou dost confess, 
thy fault would not be less known, by such a 
Judge is it known. But when the accusation 
of the sin bursts from one's own mouth, in our 
court the wheel turns itself back against the 
edge. 3 Yet still, that thou mayst now bear 

2. v. 22. Inspired by me. 

3. v. 42. The grindstone turns back against that which 
is being sharpened, and blunts its edge. The edge of the 
sword of Divine justice is blunted by Divine mercy for the 
penitent sinner. 

238 PURGATORY [v v. 44-67 

shame for thy error, and that another time, 
hearing the Sirens, thou mayst be stronger, lay 
aside the sowing of tears, 4 and listen ; so shalt 
thou hear how my buried flesh should have 
moved thee in opposite direction. Never did 
nature or art present to thee pleasure such as 
the fair limbs wherein I was enclosed, and which 
are scattered in earth. And if the supreme 
pleasure 5 thus failed thee through my death, 
what mortal thing should afterward have drawn 
thee into its desire ? Forsooth thou oughtest, 
at the first arrow of things fallacious, have risen 
upward after me, who was no longer such. 
Nor oughtest thou to have weighed thy wings 
downward to await more blows, either of some 
young girl or other vanity of so brief a use. 
The young bird awaits two or three ; but before 
the eyes of the full-fledged, the net is spread 
in vain, or the arrow shot." 6 

As children, silent in shame, with their eyes 
upon the ground, stand listening and conscience- 
stricken and repentant, so was I standing. And 

4. v. 46. " They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." 
Psalm cxxvi. 5. 

5. v. 52. The beauty of Beatrice was as a miracle lift- 
ing the heart, not only of her lover but also of all who saw 
her, toward God. See The New Life, xxvii., xxx. 

6. v. 63. tc Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight 
of any bird." Proverbs i. 17. 

vv. 68-88] CANTO XXXI 239 

she said : " Since thou art grieved through hear- 
ing, lift up thy beard, and thou shalt take 
greater grief from seeing." With less resistance 
is a sturdy oak uprooted by a native wind, or 
by one from the land of Iarbas, 7 than I raised 
my chin at her command ; and when by the 
beard she asked for my eyes, truly I recognized 
the venom of the argument. 8 And when my face 
was lifted up, my sight perceived that those pri- 
mal creatures were resting from their strewing, 9 
and my eyes, still little assured, saw Beatrice 
turned toward the animal that is one person 
only in two natures. 10 Beneath her veil, and 
beyond the stream, she seemed to me more to 
surpass her ancient self, than she seemed to sur- 
pass all others here when she was here. So 
pricked me there the nettle of repentance, that 
of all other things the one which most had 
turned me to its love became the most my foe. 11 
Such self-conviction stung my heart that I 

7. v. 72. From the South; the land of Iarbas, the son 
of Jupiter Ammon, was Libya, of which he was king. 
Aeneid, iv. 196. 

8. v. 75. Because indicating the lack of that wisdom 
which should pertain to manhood. 

9. v. 78. Of flowers. 

10. v. 81. The Griffon, the type of Christ, God and 

11. v. 87. That object which had most seduced me 
from the love of Beatrice was now the most hateful to me. 

240 PURGATORY [w. 89-108 

fell overcome ; and what I then became she 
knows who afforded me the cause. 

Then, when my heart restored my outward 
faculties, I saw above me the lady whom I had 
found alone, 12 and she was saying : " Hold me, 
hold me." She had drawn me into the stream 
up to the throat, and dragging me after her was 
moving over the water, light as a shuttle. When 
I was near the blessed shore, 13 I heard " Asper- 
ges me " I4 so sweetly that I cannot remember 
it, far less can write it. The beautiful lady 
opened her arms, clasped my head, and im- 
mersed me where I had perforce to swallow 
of the water. Then she took me, and pre- 
sented me, thus bathed, within the dance of the 
four beautiful ones, 15 and each of them covered 
me with her arm. " Here we are nymphs, and 
in heaven we are stars : x6 before Beatrice had 
descended to the world we were ordained unto 
her for her handmaids. We will lead thee 

12. v. 92. On his entrance to the Earthly Paradise. 

I 3* v ' 97' The blessed bank, because on that side of 
the stream was Beatrice, and because when Dante reaches it, 
having drunk of the water of Lethe, he will have lost the 
bitter memories of sin. 

14. v. 98. The first words of the seventh verse of the 
fifty-first Psalm : " Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be 
clean : wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." 

15. v.i 04. The four Cardinal Virtues. 

16. v. 106. See Canto i. 23. 

vv. 109-133] CANTO XXXI 241 

to her eyes ; but for the joyous light which is 
within them, the three yonder who look more 
deeply shall sharpen thine own." 17 Thus sing- 
ing, they began ; and then to the breast of the 
Griffon they led me with them, where Beatrice 
was standing turned toward us. They said : 
" See that thou spare not thy sight : we have 
placed thee before the emeralds, whence Love 
of old drew his darts against thee/' A thou- 
sand desires hotter than flame bound fast my 
eyes to the relucent eyes which ever stayed 
fixed upon the Griffon. Not otherwise than as 
the sun in a mirror, was the twofold animal 
gleaming therewithin, now with one, now with 
the other mode of being. 18 

Think, Reader, if I marvelled when I saw the 
thing stay quiet in itself, and in its image trans- 
muting itself. 

While, full of awe and glad, my soul was 
tasting that food which, sating in itself, causes 
longing for itself, the other three, showing 
themselves of the loftier order in their bearing, 
came forward dancing to their angelic carol. 
" Turn, Beatrice, turn thy holy eyes," was their 

17. v. 1 1 1 . The Cardinal Virtues lead up to Theology, 
or the revealed knowledge of Divine things, but the Evangelic 
Virtues are needed to penetrate within them. 

18. v. 123. The divine and the human, united in the 

242 PURGATORY [w. 134-145 

song, " upon thy faithful one, who to see thee 
has taken so many steps. Of thy grace do us 
the grace that thou unveil to him thy mouthy 
so that he may discern the second beauty which 
thou dost conceal." I9 

O splendor of living light eternal ! Who 
has become so pallid under the shadow of Par- 
nassus, or has so drunk at its cistern, that he 
would not seem to have his mind encumbered, 
trying to render thee as thou didst appear there 
where with its harmony the heaven hangs over 
thee, when in the open air thou didst thyself 
disclose ? 

19. v. 138. «* The eyes of Wisdom are her demonstra- 
tions by which one sees the truth most surely ; and her smile 
is her persuasions in which the interior light of Wisdom is 
displayed without any veil ; and in these two is felt that 
loftiest pleasure of Beatitude, which is the chief good in 
Paradise.'* Convito, iii. 15. 


The Earthly Paradise. — Return of the Triumphal 
procession. — The Chariot bound to the Mystic Tree. — 
Sleep of Dante. — His waking to find the Triumph de- 
parted. — Transformation of the Chariot. — The Harlot 
and the Giant. 

So fixed and intent were my eyes to relieve 
their ten years' thirst, that my other senses were 
all extinct : and they themselves, on one side 
and the other, had a wall of indifference, so did 
the holy smile draw them to itself with the 
ancient net ; when perforce my sight was turned 
toward my left by those goddesses, 1 because I 
heard from them a " Too fixedly." 2 And the 
condition which exists for seeing, in eyes but 
just now smitten by the sun, caused me to be 
for a while without sight. But when my vision 
reshaped itself to the lesser sensation (I say to 
the lesser, in respect to the great one where- 

1. v. 8. The three heavenly Virtues. 

2. v. 9. " Thou lookest too intently ; thou hast yet to 
learn much before thou canst penetrate to the depths of the 
Divine mysteries." 

244 PURGATORY [vv. 15-34 

from by force I had removed myself), 3 I saw 
that the glorious army had wheeled upon its 
right flank, and was returning with the sun and 
with the seven flames in its face. 

As under its shields to protect itself a troop 
turns and wheels with its banner, before it all 
can change about, 4 that soldiery of the celestial 
realm which was in advance had wholly gone 
past us, before its front beam 5 had bent the 
chariot round. Then to the wheels the ladies 
returned, 6 and the GrifFon moved his blessed 
burden, in such wise however that no feather of 
him shook. The beautiful lady who had drawn 
me at the ford, and Statius and I were following 
the wheel which made its orbit with the smaller 
arc. 7 Thus passing through the lofty wood, 
empty through fault of her who trusted to the 
serpent, an angelic song set the time to our 
steps. Perhaps an arrow loosed from the 

3. v. 15. The splendor of the procession was not to be 
compared with the dazzling brightness of Beatrice. 

4. v. 21. The vanguard with the banner turns before 
the rear faces about. 

5. v. 24. Its pole. 

6. v. 25. The four ladies had come from the left wheel 
of the chariot to lead Dante to the eyes of Beatrice, and the 
other three had advanced from the right wheel to pray her to 
unveil her smile to him. 

7. v. 30. The right-hand wheel, the turn being made 
(v. 16) to the right. 

w. 35-49] CANTO XXXII 245 

string had traversed in three flights as great a 
distance as we had advanced, when Beatrice 
descended. I heard " Adam ! " murmured by 
all : 8 then they encircled a plant despoiled of 
flowers and of other leafage on every bough. 9 
Its tresses, which the wider spread the higher 
up they are, 10 would be wondered at for height 
by the Indians in their woods. 

" Blessed art thou, Griffon, that thou dost 
not break off with thy beak of this wood sweet to 
the taste, since the belly is ill racked thereby." 
Thus around the sturdy tree the others cried ; 
and the animal of two natures : " Thus is pre- 
served the seed of all righteousness. " " And 
turning to the pole which he had drawn, he 

8. v. 37. In reproach of him who had in disobedience 
tasted of the fruit of this tree. " O thou Adam, what hast 
thou done ? For though it was thou that sinned, thou art not 
fallen alone, but we all that come of thee." 2 Esdras vii. 


9. v. 39. By the disobedience of Adam the Tree of the 
Knowledge of Good and Evil, the type of the law of God, was 
despoiled of virtue until the obedience of Christ restored it. 

10. v. 41. The branches of the Tree of Knowledge 
spread widest as they are nearest to the Divine Source of 

11. v. 45. " For as by one man's disobedience many 
were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be 
made righteous." "That as sin had reigned unto death, 
even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal 
life, by Jesus Christ, our Lord." Romans v. 19, 21. 

246 PURGATORY [v v. 50-64 

dragged it to the foot of the widowed trunk, 
and that which was of it I2 he left bound to it. 

As when the great light falls downward 
mingled with that which shines behind the 
celestial Carp/ 3 our plants become swollen, and 
then renew themselves, each in its own color, 
before the sun yokes his coursers under another 
star, so, disclosing a color less than of roses and 
more than of violets, the plant renewed itself, 
which at first had its boughs so bare. 14 I did 
not understand, nor here IS is sung, the hymn 
which that folk then sang, nor did I bear the 
melody to the end. 

If I could portray how the pitiless eyes l6 

12. v. 51. The pole, the mystic type of the cross of 
Christ, which was, according to an old legend, made of the 
wood of this tree. The fastening of the Chariot, the type 
of the Church, to the tree seems intended to symbolize the 
bestowal by God upon the Church of such knowledge of 
good and evil as was requisite for the discharge of its functions 
upon earth, and also the fact that these functions could only 
be fulfilled by obedience to the law of God. 

13. v. 54. In the spring, when the Sun is in the sign 
of the Ram, which follows that of the Fishes, here termed the 
Carp, and its great light is mingled with that of the constel- 

14. v. 60. The obedience of Christ restores the flowers 
and foliage to the tree, for through his life and teaching was the 
Law of God revealed, as through his death it was vindicated. 

15. v. 61. On earth. 

16. v. 65. The hundred eyes of Argus, who, when 

vv. 65-80] CANTO XXXII 247 

sank to slumber, while hearing of Syrinx, — 
the eyes to which much watching cost so dear, 
— like a painter who paints from a model 
I would depict how I fell asleep ; but whoso 
would, let him be one who can represent slum- 
ber well. 17 Therefore I pass on to when I 
awoke, and I say that a splendor rent for me 
the veil of sleep, and a call : " Arise, what doest 
thou ? " 

As, to see some of the flowerets of the apple- 
tree l8 which makes the Angels greedy for its 
fruit/ 9 and makes perpetual marriage feasts in 
Heaven, 20 Peter and John and James were led, 21 
and being overcome, came to themselves at the 
word by which greater slumbers 22 were broken, 
and saw their band diminished alike by Moses 

watching Io, fell asleep while listening to the tale of the loves 
of Pan and Syrinx, and was then slain by Mercury. See 
Ovid, Met am. y i. 568-721. 

17. v. 69. The sleep of Dante may signify the impo- 
tency of human reason to explain the mysteries of redemption. 

18. v. 73. " As the apple-tree among the trees of the 
wood, so is my beloved among the sons." The Song of 
Solomon ii. 3. 

19. v. 74. The full glory of Christ in Heaven. 

20. v. 75. The marriage supper of the Lamb. Rev- 
elation xix. 9. 

21. v. 76. To behold at the Transfiguration Moses and 
Elias, flowerets of the apple-tree. Matthew xvii. 1-8. 

22. v. 78. Those of the dead called back to life by 

248 PURGATORY [vv. 81-103 

and Elias, and the raiment of their Master 
changed, so I came to myself, and saw that 
compassionate one standing above me, who had 
before been conductress of my steps along the 
stream ; and all in doubt I said : " Where is 
Beatrice ? " And she : " Behold her under the 
new leafage, sitting upon its root. Behold the 
company which surrounds her ; the rest are 
going on high behind the Griffon, with sweeter 
song and more profound." 23 And if her speech 
was further poured forth I know not, because 
already in my eyes was she who from attending 
to aught else had closed me in. She was sit- 
ting alone upon the bare ground, like a guard 
left there of the chariot which I had seen bound 
by the biform animal. In a circle the seven 
Nymphs were making of themselves an enclo- 
sure for her, with those lights in their hands 
which are secure from Aquilo and from Aus- 
ter. 24 

" Here shalt thou be short time a forester ; 
and thou shalt be with me without end a citizen 
of that Rome whereof Christ is a Roman. 
Therefore for profit of the world which lives 

23. v. 90. Christ having ascended, Beatrice, the type 
of Theology, or the knowledge of the things of God, is left 
seated by the chariot, the type of the Church on earth. 

24. v. 99. From the north wind or the south ; that is, 
from any earthly blast. 

vv. 104-126] CANTO XXXII 249 

ill, keep now thine eyes upon the chariot ; and 
what thou seest, mind that thou write when thou 
hast returned to earth." Thus Beatrice ; and I, 
who at the feet of her commands was all devout, 
gave my mind and my eyes where she willed. 

Never with so swift a motion did fire descend 
from a dense cloud, when it falls from that re- 
gion which stretches most remote, as I saw the 
bird of Jove swoop down through the tree, 
breaking the bark, as well as the flowers and 
new leaves ; and he struck the chariot with all 
his force, whereat it reeled, like a ship in a tem- 
pest beaten by the waves now to starboard, now 
to larboard. 25 Then I saw a she fox, 26 which 
seemed fasting from all good food, leap into 
the body of the triumphal vehicle ; but, rebuk- 
ing her for her ugly sins, my Lady turned her 
to such flight as her fleshless bones allowed. 27 
Then, from there whence he had first come, I 
saw the eagle descend down into the ark of 
the car and leave it feathered from himself. 28 

25. v. 1 1 7 . The descent of the eagle, — the type of the 
Empire, — breaking the tree, symbolizes the disobedience of 
the emperors to the law of God ; and the attack on the char- 
iot their persecution of the Church. 

26. v. 119. The fox represents the early heresies. 

27. v. 123. Heresy is refuted by that knowledge of 
divine things which is held by the Church, and of which 
Beatrice is the type. 

28. v. 126. The feathering of the car is the type of the 

250 PURGATORY [vv. 127-147 

And a voice, such as issues from a heart that is 
afflicted, issued from Heaven, and thus spoke : 
" O little bark of mine, how ill art thou laden ! " 
Then it seemed to me that the earth opened be- 
tween the two wheels, and I saw a dragon issue 
from it, who fixed his tail upward through the 
chariot : and, like a wasp that retracts its sting, 
drawing to himself his malignant tail, he drew 
out part of the floor, and went wandering 
away. 29 That which remained covered itself 
again, as lively soil with grass., with the plum- 
age, offered perhaps with sane and benign in- 
tention ; and both one and the other wheel and 
the pole were again covered with it in such time 
that a sigh holds the mouth open longer. 30 
Thus transformed, the holy structure put forth 
heads upon its parts, three upon the pole, and 
one on each corner. 31 The first were horned 
like oxen, but the four had a single horn upon 
the forehead. 32 A like monster was never seen 

donation of Constantine, — the temporal endowment of the 

29. v. 135. The dragging off by the dragon of a part 
of the car may figure the schism of the Greek Church in the 
9th century. 

30. v. 141. This new feathering signifies the fresh and 
rapidly growing endowments of the Church. 

31. v. 144. The imagery is derived, as before, from 
the Apocalypse. " And behold a great red dragon, having 
seven heads and ten horns.' ' Revelation xii. 3. 

32. v. 146. The seven heads have been interpreted as 

w. 148-160] CANTO XXXII 251 

before. Secure, as a fortress on a high moun- 
tain, there appeared to me a dishevelled har- 
lot sitting upon it, with bold brows glancing 
round. 33 And, as if in order that she should 
not be taken from him, I saw a giant standing 
at her side, and now and then they kissed each 
other. But because she turned her lustful and 
roving eye on me that fierce paramour scourged 
her from head to foot. Then full of jealousy, 
and cruel with anger, he loosed the monster, 
and dragged it through the wood so far, that he 
made of that alone a shield from me for the 
harlot and for the strange beast. 34 

the seven mortal sins, which grew up in the transformed 
church, the result of its wealth and temporal power. Pride, 
Envy, and Anger are two-horned as being sins against others, 
Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust have each a single horn 
as sins against one's self alone. 

33. v. 150. "I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-col- 
oured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads 
and ten horns.' ' Revelation xvii. 3. 

34. v. 160. The harlot and the giant stand respectively 
for the Pope and the king of France. The meaning of the 
turning of her eyes upon Dante by the harlot is obscure, and 
no satisfactory interpretation of it has been proposed ; the 
dragging of the car, transformed into a monster, through the 
wood, so far as to hide it from the poet, may be taken as 
typifying the removal of the seat of the Papacy from Rome 
to Avignon, in 1305. 


The Earthly Paradise. — Prophecy of Beatrice con- 
cerning one who shall restore the Empire. — Her dis- 
course with Dante. — The river Euno'e, — Dante drinks 
of it, and is fit to ascend to Heaven. 

" DeuSy verier unt gentes," J the ladies began, 
alternating, now three now four, a sweet psalm- 
ody, and weeping ; and Beatrice, sighing and 
pitiful, was listening to them with such as- 
pect that scarce was Mary at the cross more 
changed. But when the other virgins gave 
place to her to speak, risen upright upon her 
feet, she answered, colored like fire : "Modi- 
cum, et non videbitis me, et iterum, my beloved 
Sisters, modicum, et vos videbitis me" 2 Then 
she set all the seven in front of her ; and behind 

i . v. i . The first words of the seventy-ninth Psalm : 
(t O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance ; thy 
holy temple have they defiled ; they have laid Jerusalem on 
heaps." The whole Psalm, picturing the actual desolation 
of the Church, but closing with confident prayer to the Lord 
to restore his people, is sung by the holy ladies. 

2. v. 1 2. "A little while and ye shall not see me : and 
again, a little while and ye shall see me." John xvi. 16. 
An answer and promise corresponding to the complaint and 
the petition of the Psalm. 

w. 13-36] CANTO XXXIII 253 

her, by a sign only, she placed me, and the Lady, 
and the Sage who had remained. 3 Thus she 
moved on ; and I do not think her tenth step 
had been set upon the ground, when with her 
eyes she smote mine, and with tranquil aspect 
said to me : " Come more forward, so that if 
I speak with thee, thou mayst be well placed 
for listening to me." So soon as I was with 
her as I should be, she said to me : " Brother, 
why dost thou not venture to question me, now 
thou art coming with me ? " 

As befalls those who with exceeding rever- 
ence are speaking in presence of their superiors, 
that they drag not their voice living to the 
teeth, 4 it befell me that without perfect utter- 
ance I began : " My Lady, you know my need, 
and that which is good for it." And she to 
me : " From fear and from shame I wish that 
thou henceforth disentangle thyself, so that thou 
mayst speak no more like one who dreams. 
Know thou, that the vessel which the serpent 
broke s was, and is not ; 6 but let him who has 
the blame thereof 7 think that the vengeance of 

3. v. 15. The lady, Matilda, and the sage, Statius. 

4. v. 27. Are unable to speak with distinct words. 

5. v. 34. The body of the chariot broken by the dragon. 

6. v. 35. "The beast that thou sawest was, and is 
not." Revelation xvii. 8. 

7. v. 35. For the disappearance of the chariot. 

254 PURGATORY [w. 37-47 

God fears not sops. 8 The eagle that left its 
feathers on the car, whereby it became a mon- 
ster, and then a prey, shall not be for all time 
without an heir ; for I see surely, and therefore 
I tell it, stars already close at hand, secure from 
every obstacle and from every hindrance, to 
give to us a time in which a Five hundred, Ten, 
and Five sent by God shall slay the abandoned 
woman together with that giant who is sinning 
with her. 9 And perchance my narration, dark 
like that of Themis and the Sphinx, 10 less per- 

8. v. 36. According to a belief, which the old com- 
mentators report as commonly held by the Florentines, if a 
murderer could contrive, within nine days of the murder, to 
eat a sop of bread dipped in wine, above the grave of his 
victim, he would escape from the vengeance of the family of 
the murdered man. The meaning of the words is, Let not 
him who has carried away the chariot, now become a mon- 
ster, fancy that any means he may take can avert the ven- 
geance of God for the wrong. 

9. v. 45. This dark prophecy does not admit of a com- 
plete interpretation. Beatrice declares that the empire, which 
had been in Dante's view practically vacant, should not re- 
main so indefinitely. She sees near at hand a 515, in Ro- 
man numerals a DXV, which letters by transposition form 
DVX, "a leader,' ' sent by God, who shall reestablish the 
Divine order upon earth. The prophecy is so positive that 
it seems probable that it was written when Dante's hopes 
were high as to the results of Henry VII. 's expedition to Italy 
in 1 3 10. 

10. v. 47. Obscure as the oracles of Themis or the 
enigmas of the Sphinx. 

vv. 48-66] CANTO XXXIII 255 

suades thee, because after their fashion it clouds 
the understanding. But soon the facts will be 
the Naiades " which shall solve this difficult 
enigma, without harm of flocks or of harvest. 
Do thou note ; and even as these words are 
uttered by me, so do thou teach them to those 
alive with that life which is a running unto 
death ; and bear in mind when thou writest 
them, not to conceal what thou hast seen the 
plant, which here has now been twice de- 
spoiled. 12 Whoever robs or breaks it, with 
blasphemy of deed offends God, who for His 
own use alone created it holy. For biting it, the 
first soul, in pain and in desire, for five thou- 
sand years and more, longed for Him who pun- 
ished on Himself the bite. Thy wit sleeps, if 
it deem not that for a special reason it is so 
lofty and so inverted at its top. 13 And if thy 

11. v. 49. According to a blunder in the manuscripts 
of Ovid's Met am. y vii. 759, the Naiades solved the riddles of 
the oracles, at which Themis, offended, sent forth a wild 
beast to ravage the flocks and fields. The correct reading is 
Laiades, that is, Oedipus, the son of Laius ; but this emen- 
dation was not made till the seventeenth century. 

12. v. 57. First by Adam, secondly by the giant who 
took from it " that which was of it." Canto xxxii. 51, 


13. v. 66. Inverted at its top, that is, with its upper 
branches more wide-spread than its lower. See Canto xxxii. 

256 PURGATORY [vv. 67-89 

vain thoughts had not been as water of Elsa I4 
round about thy mind, and their pleasantness 
as Pyramus to the mulberry/ 5 by so many cir- 
cumstances alone thou wouldst have recognized 
morally the justice of God in the interdict upon 
the tree. But though I see thee in thy under- 
standing made of stone, and thus stony, dark, 
so that the light of my speech dazzles thee, 
I yet would have thee bear it hence within 
thee, even if not written, at least depicted, for 
the reason that the pilgrim's staff is carried 
wreathed with palm." l6 And I : " Even as wax, 
which does not change the figure imprinted by 
a seal, is my brain now stamped by you. But 
why do your desired words fly so far above 
my sight, that the more it strives the more it 
loses them ? " "In order that thou mayst 
know," she said, " that school which thou hast 
followed, and mayst see how its doctrine can 
follow my word ; I7 and mayst see that your 
way is distant so far from the divine, as the 

14. v. 6y. A river of Tuscany, whose waters have a 
petrifying quality. 

15. v. 69. Darkening thy mind as the blood of Pyra- 
mus dyed the mulberry. 

16. v. 78. If not clearly inscribed, at least so imprinted 
on the mind, that, like the palm on the returning pilgrim's 
staff, it may be a sign of where thou hast been and of what 
thou hast seen. 

17. v. 87. How far its doctrine is from my teaching. 

vv. 90-112] CANTO XXXIII 257 

heaven which highest hastens on is remote 
from earth." l8 Whereon I replied to her : " I 
do not remember that I ever estranged myself 
from you, nor have I conscience of it that re- 
proaches me." "And if thou canst not remem- 
ber it," she replied smiling, " now call to mind 
how this very day thou hast drunk of Lethe; 
and if from the smoke fire is inferred, this thy 
forgetfulness clearly proves fault in thy will 
intent elsewhere. 19 Truly my words shall 
henceforth be naked so far as it is befitting to 
uncover them to thy rude sight." 

And more flashing, and with slower steps, 
the sun was holding the circle of the meridian, 
which appears here or there according to the 
point of view, 20 when, as he, who goes in ad- 
vance of people as a guide, halts if he find 
some strange thing on his track, the seven ladies 
halted at the edge of a pale shadow, such as 
beneath green leaves and black boughs the Alp 
casts over its cold streams. In front of them, 
it seemed to me I saw Euphrates and Tigris 

18. v. 90. " For as the heavens are higher than the 
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my 
thoughts than your thoughts. " Isaiah iv. 9. 

19. v. 96. The having been obliged to drink of Lethe 
is the proof that thou hadst sin to be forgotten, and that thy 
will had turned thee to other things than me. 

20. v. 105. Which shifts as seen from one place or 

258 PURGATORY [w. 1 13-136 

issue from one fountain, and, like friends, depart 
slowly from one another. 

" O light, O glory of the human race, what 
water is this which here pours forth from one 
source, and from itself divides itself away ? " 
To this prayer answer was made to me : " Pray 
Matilda 21 that she tell it to thee." And here- 
upon the beautiful Lady answered, as one who 
frees himself from blame : " This and other 
things have been told to him by me ; and I am 
sure that the water of Lethe has not hidden 
them from him." And Beatrice : " Perhaps a 
greater care, which oftentimes takes the memory 
away, has darkened the eyes of his mind. But 
behold Eunoe, 22 which flows forth yonder, lead 
him to it, and, as thou art wont, revive his life- 
less power." As a gentle soul which makes not 
excuse, but makes its own will of another's will, 
soon as by a sign it is outwardly disclosed, even 
so, when I had been taken by her, the beautiful 
Lady moved on, and to Statius she said, with 
manner of a lady, " Come with him." 

If I had, Reader, longer space for writing, I 

21. v. 119. Here for the first and only time is the 
beautiful Lady called by name. 

22. v. 127. Eunoe, "the memory of good," which 
its waters restore to the purified soul. See Canto xxviii. 
1 29-1 3 1 . The poetic conception of this fair stream is exclu- 
sively Dante's own. 

vv. 137-145] CANTO XXXIII 259 

would in part at least sing of the sweet draught 
which never would have sated me ; but, be- 
cause all the leaves destined for this second 
canticle are full, the curb of my art lets me go 
no farther. 

I returned from the most holy wave, reani- 
mate, even as new plants renewed with new 
foliage, pure and disposed to mount unto the 

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